Any move by CIBC to sell FirstLine is undoubtedly a business decision, argues the president of the country’s national broker association, suggesting the big bank’s exit would offer the industry real opportunity.
“While CIBC’s decision to exit the Mortgage Broker channel by putting FirstLine up for sale is strictly a business decision, every change in business provides an opportunity,” Jim Murphy told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I am confident that mortgage brokers and those that support the channel, including lenders and insurers, will seize that opportunity.”
Few brokers have been surprised by the arrival of that opportunity.
Murphy is one of several leading industry players referencing CIBC’s plans to close off its broker channel conduit by selling FirstLine.
MortgageBrokerNews.ca has also learned from brokers within the MCC family of growing concern the bank will in fact move to exit the broker channel after the sale. That would effectively represent the departure of another big bank.
The loss of FirstLine, which CIBC acquired from Manulife, is something several brokers across the industry had already begun to brace for, with the lender’s decision earlier this month to cut the BFS segment from its product line.
CIBC’s decision to keep those options available to clients of its branches has angered brokers, at the same time it has fueled talk about the bank’s plans to sell the asset.
That sale would likely be completed at some point during the current fiscal year, although it is uncertain whether the sale would be limited to FirstLine’s existing book or if the business would remain a going concern.