Client satisfaction for AMPs overstated, says a past chair

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A veteran broker and former CAAMP chair is among those challenging the results of a new poll suggesting client satisfaction may be higher for AMP brokers than for those without the accreditation.

“I am questioning the results and the methodology of any poll indicating consumers were more ‘very satisfied with’ an AMP  broker as opposed to one without that designation, particularly if you look at the limited number of brokers that actually hold the AMP,” John Bargis, VP at Mortgage Edge, told “The overwhelming majority of brokers simply don’t have the designation, yet they’re the ones who are successfully bringing in the majority of business for the industry.”

The comments echoed those of other mortgage professionals Wednesday, many taking umbrage with the results, but also the question that yielded it.

Some of the results of the Maritz survey, commissioned by CAAMP, were presented by the pollster’s Managing Director Rob Daniel.

He consulted both consumers and brokers, along with other industry participants. When mortgage consumers were asked about their satisfaction in dealing with mortgage brokers, 52 per cent said they were “satisfied,” while 38 per cent were “very satisfied.” However, if the broker they dealt with was an AMP, the very satisfied category jumped to 46 per cent.

Maritz will furnish a final report in the coming weeks, and specific methodology wasn't immediately available to brokers at the CAAMP forum.

Still, Bargis thinks the question aiming to draw comparisons between brokers on the basis of  AMP designation may be premature.

“I don’t know that it’s a fair question to ask at this point in the development of the AMP designation and its professional standards,” said the former CAAMP chairman. "Besides, it's not the designation that CAAMP needs to be concerned about at this time, it's the well-overdue awareness campaign direct to the consumer of the value of a mortgage broker that needs to be aggressively pursued. This will eliminate any confusion about the benefit of dealing with the broker channel."

The association’s immediate-past chair recently addressed broker concerns about  qualifying standards for the AMP, which many brokers hope will set the industry on track for greater market penetration.

“This discussion about the AMP is great because it shows how much the industry is engaged,” Joe Pinheiro told “The bar has increased over the last year based on input from the AMP taskforce and it makes sense to continually raise that bar. We are moving ahead with a plan to do that, to improve the designation. While I understand criticism about the pace of that process, the truth is that it can’t be done overnight.”

Substantive changes were, in fact, introduced last year and were meant to ensure a higher level of broker know-how and professionalism. Chief among them was the move to mandate four of the 12 continuing education units required for annual AMP renewal.

Broker beefs aside, CAAMP realized a whopping 10 per cent jump in AMP memberships during its last fiscal year, according to data released in October.

“Our AMP membership grew to over 3,800, representing an increase of over ten percent,” said Jim Murphy, CEO and president for the non-profit association, in its 2010/2011 annual report. “Members value the AMP and support professionalism. The changes we implemented earlier in the year were well received and will continue to be an area of focus.”

  • Douglas Dane on 2011-11-25 3:56:56 AM

    I agree with John! It is a chicken and egg thing...unless AMP becomes the recognized designation, there is no value to this mortgage broker in our market. In fact CAAMP does not add any value to our operation. I don't think the industry is big enough or can throw enough resources to bridge the gap from current brand recognition of the AMP to being recognized like a CA or a CFP for example.

  • Michael Mitchell on 2011-11-25 4:11:13 AM

    Why would you pay 300.00$ to take a course that allows you to legally lye to a client Just you can get your AMP designation.Just tell the truth it is easier

  • Markham on 2011-11-25 4:36:03 AM

    PLEASE - - CIMBL was dying and the board needed to save their precious old boys club... so... TA DA!! CAAMP and the AMP designation. Same organization, different name. They could not make CIMBL work long term, and the reality is that they won't be able to do it with CAAMP. Associations are causing huge issues in our country, and the money that they pull from an industry could be far better spent. The AMP is useless and adds zero value to my business or to the industry. The AMP courses are rudamentary and they are no different than the basic training my brand has been teaching for years. The additional training I get from my brand is far superior to what CAAMP offers, and i get more support from the brand that I will ever get from CAAMP, including the fact that the brands have done more government lobbying than CAAMP.

  • Think big picture on 2011-11-25 5:33:06 AM amazes me how naive individuals can be in this industry. The negative approach to the amp and collaboration in the industry will be the demise of the broker marketshare. Thank heavens we are fortunate enough to have leadership in this industry who are educated , understand that fact of the value of the industry association and can lead it towards growth. Small minded people, self absorbed , uninformed people living in their own bubble will always be the challenge towards moving in a positive direction. Ps. It isn't an old boys club....wake up. Women make up a vast majority of this industry and CAAMP. Hali!? As past chair...I wonder how you feel about that insulting comment?

  • AMP and proud of it! on 2011-11-25 5:49:10 AM

    So many of us work so hard at our amp, and driving the industry to be viewed more professionally. The insurance industry, the investment industry etc etc, are well beyond us why? The amp designation is not intended to be all things to all people. , but it's a good starting point in terms of establishing consistency within the public, and to suggest the association is responsible for marketing brokers? Marketing and sales is the role of the brands, and brokers. We are never going to win this battle of moving the broker industry into the next level of recognized professionalism with people who still view CAAMP as a tradeshow organization. Get a grip...

  • Mike on 2011-11-25 5:58:52 AM

    The AMP designation is a self-serving designation allowing CAAMP to double dip on membership fees. If you want to promote a more educated membership, don't charge for the designation but instead reward those to go above and beyond the required education. Right now anyone who meets the requirements and takes the BS courses offered by CAAMP (for another fee) can use the designation (provided they cough of another $300 per year above their membership fee).

  • Joe on 2011-11-25 6:00:43 AM

    Hey "AMP and proud of it!"....I wonder how hard did you work to get the designation. It ain't hard to acquire it, just review, take the exam and pass, pay the fee - you're now AMP! Don't make it such a big deal! It does not really help to boost the business. I myself is an AMP but I let it expire like many of out there - coz we don't really find value on it!

  • Andy on 2011-11-25 7:08:06 AM

    I got my AMP as soon as it was introduced. I kept it for two years until I realized that it was of absolutely no value. CAAMP was the only one getting anything out of my AMP – and that came in the form of MY money. And it wasn’t just my money to CAAMP; I also had to pay for several seminars / training sessions in order to accumulate the required number of CE credits. My total outlay to keep a valueless designation was $1,000 for each of the two years. Since I let my AMP lapse I have never once lost a client because they would prefer to deal with an AMP. Why? Two reasons: consumers don’t know or care what an AMP is, and, really, they just a broker who can get them their financing and they don’t care about anything else.

  • John on 2011-11-25 9:47:12 AM

    So further, it now looks like the past chair agrees that the AMP is not all it's "cracked" up to be... My next "can" of worms... I wonder if any of the founding members of the organization have ever been in trouble of any kind... I would hope not as that would bring more shame to this truly "old boys club". And for those that don't want to refer to it as this, isn't this kind of how old boy's clubs operate? I am referring to the "poll" if that's what it's called.

  • Concerned Industry Member on 2011-11-25 10:24:33 AM

    For all those who spend their time making disparaging remarks about the AMP, I have a few items for you to think about: 1) Most professional membership organization have to pay annual fees in excess of $300. 2) These professional organizations became recognized and respected when their members supported and contributed to them. 3) Unless there is unity around an organization with significant support from those in the industry, the industry will not get the respect of the public. 4) Surely, we can do better than just continually complain about the uselesness of the AMP. Instead, why don't we work to make it mean something to the general public whom we serve. Let us stop being so negative. If the public get to read our comments we will be further diminished in their eyes. Quite honestly, we sound like a bunch of whining babies who keep crying for "mommy". If this is the path the non-constructive complainers want to take, maybe you should consider getting a pacifier.

  • Vittorio on 2011-11-25 5:08:46 PM

    Wow I hear what you say about AMP. And agree with everybody, AMP may not be the best way to promote our industry and right now nobody is going to lose a client if you do not have an AMP. However, time will change and if we stick with amp and continue to promote than AMP will mean something. I am AMP and you know what I am proud and give it about 5 more years than AMP will be more difficult to obtain and than it will have more value.

  • Non-Believer Here on 2011-11-25 7:12:56 PM

    Couldn't have said it better myself Andy! Consumers don't know and don't care. If my clients don't then why would I invest the time, and money? In the numerous years that I paid for and carried the AMP designation I found that it provided zero value to enhance my reputation, increase my knowledge or my income.

    Lets be honest...If Canadians were polled what % would actually recognize the AMP designation and of those few that might how many would really choose an AMP designate broker over one that is not. The answer would likely reinforce the fact that AMP is indeed a poor investment.

  • Reply to: To Concerned Industry member on 2011-11-26 5:18:19 AM

    It is not the AMP designation itself that I have an issue with. What I do question however is if CAAMP has done a good job to promote and represent the industry through the AMP program. A greater investment of our CAAMP membership fees on an "effective and consistent" AMP consumer awareness campaign would appease most and the tide would definitely turn. Finally, I think most brokers understand the issue of the "bigger picture" and our obligation to the future of the industry. That said, if the tide of discontent among the membership today is not addressed we will not get there and AMP will become even less relevant.

  • Time for a reality check on 2011-11-26 5:29:27 AM

    AMP like any other association created designation holds no validity in the eyes of the consumer. History shows this to be true, just look to our sister industry where there have been dozens of designations that have come and gone. Designations only have meaning when they are provided by accredited educational institutions... PHD, MBA, etc. OR when the designation is mandated by legislation for the performance of the job. Even then, how many consumers really care if they are dealing with an MBA? They do not.

    The AMP does more for the person who carries it because it gives them a sense of pride, but to the consumer... It will never mean more than it does today.

    Here we have a member organization which has over 12,000 members and who's name is the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, yet only 3800 of those members have the AMP designation. What does this tell the consumer? That of the 12,000 members only 3800 of them are accredited?

    CAAMP would be better served if they gave all members of CAAMP the designation and made membership carry educational requirements. Why? Because right now I can tell the consumer that I am a member of CAAMP and they will assume, rightfully so, that I am an accredited professional. Why would that be correct? Because I have to renew my license every year with the regulator, and I have to do reeducation to renew my license. My license with government regulators will always hold more weight than an association membership.

    Unless CAAMP makes this bold move then they will always be telling the consumer the same thing. Some of our membership are more professional than others, and that will create conflict internally, will devalue them as an association, and the AMP will never be seen more than a cash grab as it is today by the vast majority of their membership (it is why there is only 10% acceptance of the AMP).

    I support associations, but let's get some focus on what is really important here. It is the ability of that association to influence regulators and the consumer, it is not the creation of a designation that in reality all of their members already have because they are a member.

    I am a member of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, and I am accredited by my regulatory body and by the university that provided me with my licensing courses and gave me my professional broker designation, and the university certificate that proves it.

  • Re: Reality Check on 2011-11-26 5:45:40 AM

    Could not have said it better myself. You made me think about something... When I go to a doctors office, I do not automatically check to make sure that it says PHD after their name. I trust and know that in Canada the government protects me through their licensing. It is not the college of physicians that gives them that designation... It is the university. In fact all recognized designations are provided by accredited schools as you say. The CSC is by the Canadian Securities Institute, etc.

    Thanks for the thought provoking and very truthful insight. I think that maybe we are all a bit too caught up in the political... We cannot see the forest for the trees.

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