The Mortgage Revolution continues, with the CEO of Axiom Mortgage Solutions preparing to take his candid and often critical conversation on ethics, integrity and – in a troubling number of cases – the lack thereof to Calgary next month.
“July 19 in Calgary is tentative,” Mike Cameron, CEO of Axiom Mortgage Solutions told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Our first discussion, in Edmonton in March was about how we, as brokers, can stop giving a home to the men and women who give our industry a bad name. They’re guys who are running around out there, but aren’t necessarily qualified; they intentionally withhold information from lenders; they blatantly lie about the competition; and they generally lack the integrity and ethics that our industry needs.”
The planned meeting in Calgary will focus on that same topic and likely see as many as 100 brokers crowd a hotel banquet hall for a half-day professional development conference. Industry professional development leaders – trainer Greg Williamson addressed the Edmonton group of 80 mortgage professionals – will likely flesh out the symposium.
The Calgary date comes as brokers there grapple with an increasingly competitive market and fears of a price correction like that experienced in 2007/8. Values have yet to bounce back to pre-recession levels, something that may have exacerbated integrity and ethical lapses, argue some brokers. The July forum in Calgary is focused on keeping alive a dialogue begun in Edmonton.
“We ‘the good guys’ need to band together and say ‘there’s no room for unethical behaviour in our industry,’” Cameron said, suggesting the industry may want to study the more closely-regulated accounting and legal models.
Any move in that direction would raise the bar on licensing requirements and give the industry’s professional associations greater power to police their members.
Licensing authorities across the country already wield that kind of authority, said another broker in Edmonton for the discussion.
“There are rules and regulations in Alberta that broker and agents must abide by,” Zoltan Padar, president of MortgagePro in Calgary, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “All brokers have to do is educate themselves and abide them. While there is wrongdoing out there, I believe that more of it is mistakes and not intentional wrongdoings. The bottom line is that brokers present themselves as experts to the public and in some cases they are not. I think a little more education, especially at the top broker level is appropriate and brokerage heads need to be more proactive in reporting agents acting in an unethical or fraudulent manner.”
According to a recent survey of 500 Canadian brokers, and conducted by The Real Estate and Mortgage Institute of Canada, about 72 per cent of Canadian brokers feel that American media reports about the role of mortgage professionals in the subprime debacle have negatively affected their business.
That may be unfair given the oversight Canadians mortgage professionals are subject to.
“Canadian mortgage brokers typically employ sound business practices, are highly regulated and ongoing surveys show that their customers exhibit high levels of customer satisfaction,” said REMIC President Joseph White. It’s “a far different experience than what has been reported in the United States.”
But Canadian brokers can’t afford to rest on their laurels, said Cameron, asking brokers to encourage their colleagues to meet ethical guidelines they’ve agreed to uphold: “In Canada, brokers have a 70-plus market share that we can take from the banks, but we don’t have to beat each other up.”
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