Former mortgage specialists heading home

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A slowing market and the challenges of chasing leads will undoubtedly send a growing number of former mortgage specialists back to the banks and out of the broker industry, wagers one Vancouver broker – himself a former CIBC veteran.

“I have no problem with former specialists moving into the broker channel – I made the move myself three and a half years ago after 13 years with CIBC,” said Jeff Trounsell, a sub-broker with Centum Pacific Mortgages in Vancouver. “But I would say that of those entering the market now as many as 50 per cent of them will have gone back to the banks or moved onto something else within a year. That’s different from the 60 per cent of my former colleagues at the banks who’ve come over to the broker channel in the last three years and are still at it.”

The comments echo those of at least two other mortgage specialists-turned-brokers who’ve monitored the progress of the hundreds of others in the same shoes. They're now grappling with the challenges of tracking down their own leads and closing deals without the backing of a big bank name.

Those challenges have been particularly difficult on B.C.'s Lower Mainland given the level of competition between brokers, banks and credit unions but also the growing number of mortgage professionals all vying for the same dwindling number of deals. At the same time, Banks have upped their courtship of brokers in an effort to beef up their road rep numbers and better compete with the channel.

It means that former mortgage specialists in Vancouver are more likely to beat a retreat to the banks, says industry analysts, adding to the growing number of mortgage specialists who have already moved to go part-time.

Outside other their objections to that last group, brokers have increasingly welcomed the decision of mortgage specialists and others looking to transfer out of the business, suggests a recent survey.

While 33 per cent of brokers canvassed for the last CAAMP-Maritz survey characterized the number of mortgage professionals in Canada as “just right,” a whopping 61 per cent said “there are too many brokers” across the country. Only 7 per cent argued that “there are not enough.”

In January, FSCO revealed that as much as 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the province's 9,000-plus licensed agents are no longer working at a brokerage and, therefore, unauthorized to sell mortgages.

Those mortgage professionals have likely abandoned the business in the more than 21 months since the 2010 renewal period or have taken up administrative or management positions within the industry, IMBA Executive Director Joe Rosati told


  • Broker from Ontario on 2012-02-17 6:33:05 AM

    I've been working in the industry for 8 years now, and have seen it go up and down.

    The industry is not strong and tough enough yet. We're still allowing anyone who wants to, to join the group. Licensing and educational standards and policy need to tighten up and expect more academic professionalism and experience by those wanting to become mortgage agents or brokers. I agree that the introductory course is not enough for someone to be licensed to trade in mortgages.

    Another huge problem is that of Realtors being allowed to also get their mortgage license. This has been getting worse and worse throughout the years as greed settle's in the mind of those Realtors who want to double dip the industry. The regulation on both fronts, the Real Estate Act, and the Mortgage Brokerage Act need to be update to not allow mortgage people to go double dip on the real estate side and the same with real estate people to come onto our side. This is such an obvious thing, and it baffles my mind that it is being allowed.

    There needs to be something done with the big banks and their mobile sales force. They need to understand that if they want our business we have to work together and stop allowing the branches to muscle out our deals. I mean come on! Many of us brokers at the end of the day are sending our business to the banks/branches. The banks should not be increasing their mobile mortgage sales force but instead working with professionals like us and giving us reasons to send them business their way.


  • Angela Wong-Liao, Invis Inc on 2012-02-17 6:59:20 AM

    In my opinion, the reduction in the numbers of mortgage agents/brokers in the broker channel is advantages to the full time mortgage professionals. As a veteran mortgage professional for over 10 years, I welcome the change. I agree with Jim T of Advent Mortgage, our industry requiring stricter screening and tougher training, so that whoever moves to the broker channel will remain in the industry. I also agree with Brokers from Ontario that there are too many part timers or crossover realtors who can do mortgages or financial planners who are both realtors and mortgage agents/brokers. I do not understand why people wants to have their hands on every pie, what kind of professional standards do one think these people can provide. I urge FSCO considering taking a stand on all these part timers and crossover mortgage agents/brokers as at the end of day, these practices can adversely affecting the professional image and standards of the full time mortgage professionals.

  • John Bargis, Mortgage Edge on 2012-02-17 9:05:05 AM

    Nonsense - This is nothing but sensationalism.....

  • John Dearin RPA,. AMP. on 2012-02-18 12:04:01 AM

    The only way to clean up the part-timers and dangerous agents is for the brokerage owners to do it. regulations wont do it. We do not hire part-timers.

  • Ron Butler on 2012-02-18 7:28:36 AM

    I have been listening to the "we need to clean out the part-timers" story for 16 years.

    When you are a full time, dedicated person you always have the attitude that you would prefer less competitors. It's just human nature.

    Before you ask for huge fees and big barriers to entry be careful what you wish for. Part of the health of any business is new blood. Being part of a commission business will always thin the herd as the business cycles roll over. No mortgage broker in the USA is asking for big fees and higher barriers to entry right now.

    We don't want to end up like the life insurance business where there is a "missing generation" of agents to sell products which has left several life insurance distributors kicking around ideas to re-start recruitment.

  • Gary Snider on 2012-02-19 12:04:02 PM

    Its interesting to read the comments... Folks I'm twenty years as a broker and in that time I have seen everything from the early days when brokers started and there was only a handful of lenders in the arly 90's. MRS Trust would offer a point off the posted and your long time bank customer couldn't believe fact not only would they not believe they would take there .25% (as opposed to the full point)discount because they believed then that the institution cared about them and we know the real truth about that story line. At that point we were a non threat to the big banks but in short time 97 , 98 , 99 and into 2000 they were buying up origination channels. FLT in 95 was the start of it and they all followed...why because it was about origination.... but then the flood gates opened...all those bankers that scorned brokers in the Monday morning sales meetings started to realize that the industry was real and there was real money on the other side. I remember it was almost like one day they were scorning me and next day ,,,hi Gary isn't it great to be a I recall gritting my teeth and smilling SOB' have been calling brokers everything in the book and now I'm to welcome you. This was the period that we as an Association failed badly...never should have allowed lenders to infiltrate...never should have let anyone in...the over exurburence of the market then and lack of training, lack of good people, lack spine and back bone.... this is what the market culls those who are weak and cannot survive but this is a slaughter waiting to happen...All I can say is I am Thankful that I have a good business model and a client book that is all mine... I have never sold my soul to a company store,,, no one lender has control over my business and I have never sold a mortgage lenders contest to win a damn trip to Mexico.... and I never will. The next damn broker comes to me and says I just won a trip I'm gonna club'em. We need real, we need integrity more than ever before if the broker channel is to survive. I would love to lead this group forward into what could be considered uncharted waters...we shall make it but much and many sage decisions will need to be made.
    I'll leave you with this last comment...."true character reveals itself in tough times" and boy are we seeing some bad character at the moment.... Have great day. Happily 50 this year....:) Gary

  • broker on 2012-02-17 5:25:16 AM

    Those agents leaving should have never been a agent in the first place. Run back home to mommy.

    Agents like that can't leave fast enough.

    When your computer says no the real brokers will be happy to help.

  • James on 2012-02-17 5:47:02 AM

    "adding to the growing number of mortgage specialists who have moved to go part time"
    Awesome they work a full time job and are unavailable to clients during normal business hours and how does that reflect back on the full time professional brokers? Get rid of part timers, Tim's and McDonalds have spots open if you want to make a little extra cash

  • Jim T.. Advent Mortgage on 2012-02-17 5:48:37 AM

    What this business needs is a purging of the many agents who are either not qualified to be in this business (taking the agents course is far from the education required to deal with a consumer's biggest purchase)or do not take this business serioulsy enough to put more energy and attention to it. Like any business with low barriers to entry, we have far too many mortgage agents/brokers. I welcome the both the slow-down in our industry and the highly competitive nature that we are currently facing by the banks. This environment will in fact eliminate the many sub-standard mortgage agents/brokers and leave in its place the true professionals that can compete. I'll go a step further and would like to see registration cost go up, say $5,000 or $10,000 a year. Then you will see how quickly the part-timers and 'hackers' go back to their other jobs.

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