Frustrated veterans considers 'Plan B'

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A 13-year veteran is actively contemplating a career switch to real estate appraisal, blaming a slowdown but also the loss of a competitive edge due to the FirstLine closure.
“I love being a mortgage broker,” J. Darren Ings, of Centum Advantage Financial Group Inc., in PEI, told “It is a very rewarding profession and much of what I’ve built came from it. But business is just drying up.”

If he does leave the profession, the long-time broker will be following the lead of many newer agents who have left the industry because of the tightening market.

Ings is not the first mortgage broker to air concerns over the future of the industry. His comments come after relicensing in Ontario and the loss of hundreds of agents.

By contrast, Ings has been a broker for more than a decade, although, like an increasing number of brokers now moving to diversify their revenue streams, he also became a real estate appraiser in 2005.

“Taking the real estate appraiser course was part of my Plan B,” he said. “But it looks like Plan A has fallen apart.”  

Ings is currently offering real estate appraisal services, and his business partner, also a broker is dually qualified – and working – as a Realtor.

“I consider us lucky because we were able to plan ahead,” said Ings. “But I believe many other brokers are considering the move we made.” reported on the reverse trend last year, with Realtors moving to get their mortgage agent licenses – something many brokers objected to.

In Ings case, with CIBC shutting down FLM, he believes the mortgage side of his business will further suffer.

“FirstLine’s product line enabled me to compete not on rates alone,” he said. “Without FirstLine products to back me up, I’ve lost my advantage against the banks.

“This could be the one that breaks the camel’s back.”

What he liked about FLM was their wide product selection that provided brokers with greater flexibility.

Ings points to, among other products, the mono-line’s Homeowners Advantage Program, which provided clients with up to $10,000 worth of free home repair services annually.


  • Nancy Butler on 2012-07-28 3:20:06 AM

    As a mortgage agent working in a rural area, I will miss Firstline's variety of programs, they were great for acreage properties and had decent "B" lending as well. "Points" didn't have to be used in an unethical way!

  • Really? on 2012-07-28 7:07:46 AM

    See you later, good luck with your Plan "B". Can you send me over your client list before you go? I also heard CIBC is hiring specialists, perhaps a Plan "C"?

  • Derek Rowley on 2012-07-28 7:25:42 AM

    Good evening fellow brokers and agents

    I am in total sympathy with you Darren and I wish you all the best. I truly understand as I am entering my 13th year and all the changes have hurt many of us including the realtors and th clients. I personally know of some who are delivering pizza anbd sbs to make ends meet and to feed their kids, which makes me wonder what Flaherty is eating for supper tonight.

    I personbally think that one area that needs to be addressed and especially for realtors and mortgage brokers is the numbers, meaning tgis industry is likw the Taxi industry in that the more taxis on the roads (Agentsd) the more the owner (Brokers) make. I live in a very small farm community and between the bvanks, credit unions and other mortgage agents, I have 15 competitors. That's more agents than stop signs and traffic lights. IN addition I just recently discovered that 3 deals tha were recently declind by an insurer were approved for the bank - smae client - same deal - no to the broker but yes to the bank. I furthermore discovered that regardless of the new regulations, one cewrtain majhor lender does not or appears that they do not have to play by the same rules and are accepting cleints that do not fall under tghe new guidelines. Add all tghis together and it can spell disaster for the broker/agent.

    As or me all I can say is that I cannot focus on what I do not have or may have lost, but rather continue to move forward as best as I can and to stay optimistic and happy regardless.

    As for FL, I never used them at all so this has no impact on myself.

    SAummer wiull be long and HOT HOTR HOTR. My advice is do not let what is currently happening add extra heat. Remember, small pots boiul over first and we are all bigger than that.

    Best wishes for continued success to all

    Kindest regards

    Derek Rowley

  • Liz on 2012-07-28 7:40:10 AM

    really? I loved FLM also and it IS a sad day however, I wouldn't change careers over it. that is silly and misguided. Did you only ever did with FLM? If so, that is an entirely dangerous game to play. never put all your eggs in one basket. There are plenty of lenders out there to deal with and let's not forget approx 705 of the population do not use Brokers so there is a lot of uptapped volume out there. Enough of the doom and gloom already.

  • broker on 2012-07-30 12:19:24 PM

    Seriously? You are wiling to be an appraiser and work for $200 a deal? Thinks are nowhere near that bad.

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