Brokers worry about lost year

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Brokers worried about the challenging environment and double-digit revenue slips, you’re not alone. A leading industry trainer is identifying a very real and growing anxiety among mortgage professionals from one end of the country to the next – afraid the economy will further compromise their bottom lines.
“I am increasingly hearing from brokers, and other leaders in the industry who are out there speaking with brokers that there is a growing theme that brokers are scared,” Greg Williamson, a Calgary broker and motivational speaker, told  They’re “scared of the future and worried that many, as they wind down the year, realize they are down 25 per cent or more year-over-year.”
That fear seems more and more grounded in fact, as brokers continue to grapple with the slowing real estate market across much of the country.
In addition to a slip in new purchases, the banks haven’t yet given up their aggressive sales strategies, say industry analysts. It’s something frustrating broker attempts to compensate for the slip in originations with refinances and switches.
Those mortgage professionals are even finding it harder to move clients from monolines, as non-banks adopt the fierce retention practices of the Big Five.
“There’s no question that the retention teams of broker lenders are becoming more aggressive with switch-outs,” said Jeff Attwooll, a senior mortgage broker with Verico KW Mortgage. “Some are now insisting on talking to the client before they sign off on the discharge of a mortgage. That’s relatively new for broker-lenders and is what the banks do. Of course, that’s not good for brokers.”
The threat of a double-dip recession is also dogging broker attempts to grow or even maintain revenue streams ending into the final quarter of 2011.
Those realities have crept into Williamson’s conversations with the hundreds of mortgage professionals he has coached and spoken to this year.
“One of the questions I often ask our coaching members and our followers is, ‘When thinking of your future right now, do you have primary thoughts and feelings of excitement or rather thoughts and feelings of anxiety, concern or worry?’” said the founder of 180 Degrees Coaching. “Increasingly, we have been hearing people answer honestly that they are concerned.”
Williamson and others are advising brokers to up their game by actively seeking to generate business from new leads and not just their existing databases.
“People are growing resistant to the methods of how we deliver information to them,” Williamson told “And, at some point a broker’s database becomes exhausted. They can get much better results by building a big prospective database of people they have not yet done business with.”
  • Ron Butler on 2011-10-06 6:29:11 AM

    Bravo to Greg for saying out loud what so many are thinking. It's not like it was 3 years ago or even like last year and 2012 will likely be worse.

    I also agree with Greg on the solution, market better to new people. Recycling databases and romancing the same old realtor is not the answer. The answer are building systems to find new prospects and fresh referral sources.

  • Another Broker on 2011-10-06 6:30:41 AM

    I think it means we are going to get a lot of uneducated and inexperienced brokers out there. Whatever credibility we have as brokers now we can say goodye to.

  • George on 2011-10-06 8:48:35 AM

    I welcome the competition from the banks and the drop in the business. This will squeeze out the marginal mortgage brokers that shouldn't be in this business.
    If any broker is relying on realtors for business they are dead in the water. Wake up and smell the coffee! More and more realtors will by-pass us brokers and deal with banks directly. National Bank pays realors 50bps for referrals. TD Bank is now doing this as well.
    WIth respect to business being down 25% this year, I'm happy to say that we are up 20% over last year (and by the way, last yr was up 80% over 2009). We're doing great because we do not deal with realtors at all. You would be wise to do the same.

  • Angela Wong-Liao, Invis Inc on 2011-10-06 10:22:06 AM

    As a veteran mortgage professional and business professional, every business has its cycle, yes, the mortgage brokerage business is at a turning point because of the over all economic situation around the world, not only Canada. As a matter of fact, Canada actually carrying ourself pretty well in comparing to other countries, ie; Greece, England and USA. Banks and monolines are only trying to survive in this unpredictable and volatile economic times. To survive and thrive, we will have to constantly modify our business strategies to face the challenges. Some of my strategies are to focus on expanding my sphere of influence, my business network via networking events and community involvements, to remain positive and focus on reducing my business budget but not on promotions.

  • Liz on 2011-10-12 3:16:42 AM

    I do believe realtors can be a great source of business but you have to be working with the ones that are not trying to wear multiple hats. Deal with the 10-20% that do 80-90% of the volume. Their hand isn't out. They want their deals closed. Lets also remember, there are plenty of resources out there. Reclycling ones database only, is a dangerous game indeed. C'mon people, cheer up, we only have about 25% marketshare now! We haven't grown in years. There is PLENTY of opportunity out there. Pick up the phone, get to work, sell yourselves. Get the message out there! Stop selling rate only. Someone recently told me that a mortgage Brokers service is one of the best kept secrets in Canada. Lets get the message out there!

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