CIBC borrows page from broker handbook

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CIBC is hoping a bump-up in its weekend hours will help fill the void left by mortgage brokers with the bank's decision to close FirstLine.

““It’s the folks who are living busy lives during the week and need the time, in particular on Saturdays and Sundays, to come in and have deeper conversations around advice,” CIBC`s VP of retail distribution Larry Tome said late last week. "It’s new immigrants, it’s baby boomers, it’s people who just can’t find the time. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense for us.”

Timewill ultimately be the judge of that, with CIBC joining TD in a growing emphasis on weekend banking. The country's fifth largest bank plans to have 107 well-placed branches open on Sundays by the end of the month. It's a way of better conforming to the lifestyles of Canadians, especially those hunting around for mortgages and other advice-heavy retail products.

The strategy is expressely aimed at helping the bank deepen branch mortgage sales, coming on the heels of its decision this summer to shutter the FirstLine operation and sever with brokers outside the MCC family.

The extended banking hours effectively borrow on one of the mortgage broker's key selling points: flexibilty and accessibility.

Survey results continue to suggest consumers are looking for that kind of after-hours service, something a slowing mortgage market is now forcing banks to provide.

More and more, brokers are already meeting clients in their homes as a way of better competing with road reps. In many cases, the move is under protest, with industry veterans concerned house calls erode productivity and hard-earned reputations.

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