CAAMP is reiterating its pledge to work with provincial governments to ensure minimal education standards for mortgage professionals in response to concerns about inexperienced agents “flying solo” in Ontario markets.
“CAAMP is very concerned with the wide range of practice standards being applied to agent supervision among some of the country’s brokerages,” reads a comment posted to MortgageBrokerNews.ca story highlighting the concerns. “As we continually work towards harmonizing the various regulations and legislation governing the industry we will make this a high priority of our Government Relations and Education committees.”
The comment is direct answer to growing broker concerns about unsupervised new agents working in markets without direct supervision of a broker. Last week, a veteran of the industry sounded the alarm about what he calls a large number of those mortgage agents flying solo in smaller markets, without the benefit of in-house broker guidance. It’s a trend that may chip away at the industry’s bragging rights.
“I know that these people will not survive, but it’s the damage they do along the way that matters,” said Nick Tassone, broker-owner of Midtown Mortgage Service in Sault Ste. Marie, in an MortgageBrokerNews.ca article last week. “Since the new regulations in Ontario did away with the requirement to have a licensed broker on site, our market has been flooded with inexperienced agents who are working without the direct and necessary training and guidance of their broker.”
His comments set off a chain of broker comments supporting the concerns and asking CAAMP and other industry organizations to better address educational standards.
“CAAMP has been steering the changes to mortgage brokerage law in Ontario and look what it has got us?” posted one broker, responding to the initial article. “Education for the industry isn't everything, but it’s a start, but when the bar is so low any snake can crawl under it, why bother with the bar?”
Brokers in rural and small markets across Ontario – and, indeed, the country – have been frustrated by growing number of individual agents representing brokerages headquartered in major urban centres. In Ontario, that trend started in 2008 with amendments made to the Ontario Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, effectively replacing rigid on-site broker requirements with mandatory educational training as part of the agent licensing process.
Tassone argues that trading broker oversight requirements with agent training has come at the cost of local expertise. FSCO educational components – in the absence of more rigorous testing – have failed to deepen agent skills, he said.
CAAMP has been a leading proponent of provincial regulation of the industry, at the same time helping to form educational standards that some members argue isn’t enough. CAAMP is now responding to that charge.
“Traditionally legislation and Regulations set out minimum compliance,” reads the CAAMP comment. “We as an industry must take the lead and raise the bar professionally. We believe our Mortgagecampus.org which we will be launching in the next few weeks will in some small way point the industry in the right direction.”