Lawyers charge more for monoline files: Broker

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One broker is hoping lenders better streamline their documentation process after a number of law firms began charging clients more to deal with files that come from monolines than their bank counterparts.

“I’ve been hearing from lawyers’ offices that they are having difficulty with some of the instructions that are being sent by non-bank lenders in Edmonton and some other areas in Alberta,” Connie Graham of Axiom Mortgage told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Many of the lawyers are actually starting to charge clients an additional fee if the mortgage instructions are from a non-bank lender because it makes more work for them at closing.”

Graham and her colleagues attended a meeting with one of the law offices last week and were told, specifically, what the issues were with each file.

According to Graham, the length of the instructions are sometimes seven times as long as a bank’s instructions. They also often lack specific funder contact information, forcing lawyers to call a 1-800 number and wait on hold before reaching someone who may or may not know how to answer the specific question.

“They need to streamline their instruction process, they need to have clear contact information for a person to contact if the lawyer has a question about instructions, they need to have an email portal or access to the information because the lawyer has to fax everything in (and that can take) 20 minutes for someone standing in front of a fax machine instead of two minutes to package it in a PDF or upload it to a portal," Graham said.

Some law offices now ask which lender the client is getting their mortgage from before giving a quote, according to a number of Graham’s clients. She has also heard from at least ten different law offices in the past year who have had to charge more for monoline files.

“It really isn’t just because the lawyer’s office isn’t familiar with the instructions or they don’t really know the process or they’re dealing with a different lender than they normally deal with; it’s because it actually physically takes them more time,” Graham said. “As brokers we want to use monoline lenders because it’s to our advantage.

“The whole point … is that we pass the message on to the lenders so that they consider streamlining their processes.”
 
  • stephen codsi on 2014-04-15 11:15:59 AM

    very true, happening in GTA also.

  • Dave, Broker on 2014-04-15 11:21:16 AM

    Not surprised, heard different complaints from lawyers about Hometrust last minute funding, Street Capital vague instructions, etc.

  • Kent Farnsworth on 2014-04-15 11:24:37 AM

    It can be painful working with lawyers that are not used to mono-lines. I have even near lost deals because the clients lawyer bitched so much about how much work he had to do, which led him to tell the client that he should have went to the bank because he had never heard of this lender.. It's kind of ironic because I find that it is easier to work with most mono-lines than it is the banks, but for lawyers it is the opposite for the most part. You can't blame them for wanting more money. FNF was the worst IMHO and now FCT doesn't seem to be handling the overflow from FNF all that well. Why the banks can't just fund their own mortgages instead of getting a 3rd party involved. Clearly there is obviously a good reason but I do not know what that is. It also makes you wonder why the mono-lines can't streamline their process more like the banks..

  • OkanaganBroker on 2014-04-15 11:25:02 AM

    Every monoline deal I have ever done has caused my solicitor friends/partners & my clients difficulty...They or FCT have even requested additional documentation from the clients at the last minute, paperwork that had already been supplied to the lender...and a few deals not even closing on time due to lender/instruction issues...That bad service reflects on us and even the lower rates offered by many monolines simply can't make up for the stress of last minute funding issues...I rarely use the monolines due to so many bad experiences & the poor service I have encountered

  • Paul Mangion on 2014-04-15 11:33:10 AM

    Maybe you should consider this before you send the deal out. But you should definitely bring it to the attention of your mono line sale force so they can bring it to the attention of the powers to be. Don't forget to thank them when they do a great job as nobody likes to hear complaints only.

  • Rick Morgan on 2014-04-15 11:41:43 AM

    Real Simple , dictate the lawyer on the deal , I have done this in the past with no problem ,I am not going to have a lawyer influence my client decision on what lender they should pick . Granted some lenders instruction s can be a bit lengthy compared to one page instructions from a bank .Its what is best for client not the lawyer .

  • JSydneyH on 2014-04-15 11:43:31 AM

    Another consideration we may have overlooked is that lawyers are representing both parties in a bank funded transaction. They're getting a significant uplift from the banks so they aren't likely to complain about the volumes of paper from their customer.

    Always concerned about lawyers representing both parties in a transaction.

  • Catherine on 2014-04-15 11:45:38 AM

    It is my understanding that in a mortgage transaction the lawyer has a fiduciary duty to protect the lender (bank) in the closing of a mortgage financing transaction. Should the lenders not better inform/prepare the lawyers? Why is this so complicated?

  • Angela Wong-Liao - Invis Inc on 2014-04-15 11:50:21 AM

    I fully agree that the monolines have to focus on improving their solicitor instruction. It may cost our mortgage broker channel pain and potential loss of deals to banks because of their lengthy and non-standard internal documentation procedures.

  • CM on 2014-04-15 11:56:15 AM

    I think a major downfall for the Monolines is those using FCT or similar instruction and funding channels. I have had lawyers ban their clients from using certain Lenders (Street Capital is not a favourite for many lawyers!) because it's such a pain to deal with them. And there isn't clear communication if there are changes to any mortgage details. Adding a middle man rarely is a good idea or simplifies the process. And why is it that we are sending void cheques and pad forms in, but the clients have to complete them at the lawyers again? Can't the information be forwarded along? I think FCT should be done away with personally...
    I had a a conveyancing Secretary complain so much to me and to the client about a Lender (which actually happened to be Street again!) that the client called to question me about the Lender. This of course made me look bad as well as the Lender, but it's highly unprofessional for the conveyancer or lawyer to speak poorly of a Lender. They don't know the reasons why that lender was chosen, or how the client is benefiting over another Lender. It's up to us to have these conversations with lawyers and their staff if they are speaking outside authority. They too need to be reminded that the end result should always be what's best for the client.

  • BC Mortgage Broker on 2014-04-15 12:02:39 PM

    Yes; I agree as well. Our Lawyers and Notaries in our community charge extra as well which can definitely leave an uneasy feeling with the client as to who you have placed them with. It would be nice if they could simplify their process for the lawyers.

  • Glen on 2014-04-15 12:49:12 PM

    We have a list of lawyers that we will NOT use.
    I tell clients that we RATE the lawyers A B C and X-file (do not use) based on client feed back so, I will give the client the name of one or two lawyers from our preferred list, lawyers or notarys that facilitated a great experience for past clients. We follow up with the lawyers office and make sure that they have documentation from the lender well in advance. We also tell the lawyers to call us if they have ANY questions about the documentation or if someone is not getting back to them. We are the friend and advocate for the conveyancer. Many times we have called FCT or the lender to resolve an issues. We also called big lenders to resolve the "Where are my instructions" and other issues.
    All of this builds the relationship with the conveyancer who does the work in the lawyer or notary's office. We stick handle where we can all the way to funding date. In one situation Merix deposited funds into RBC to the the lawyers Trust Acc at 9am TO time but the funds were not pulled put off (there is a manual step I found out later in this process) in to the Alberta Lawyers Trust Account till 330PM AB time -- not Merix's fault but the actions of slow or busy bank staff in small town AB.

    Most important, set up the expectation for the borrowers that most of the time things go smoothly -- if they hear any thing from the conveyance -- it could be that the person is having a bad day or has in some stituations left things a little bit late -- tell the borrower to call us and we will call the conveyancer. Brokers we have the contact lists ( FCT lender) to help and we can out service the banks in most situations -- This is just one more place we can shine!

  • Kent Farnsworth on 2014-04-15 12:59:02 PM

    We actually do have a lawyer in our office so it is much easier to direct our clients to him. It also help that he pretty much has a set fee, and is not charging for faxes, phone calls etc. Still, there are clients that are quite adamant about using their own lawyers and there is not a lot a broker can do about it. That being said, there is one lawyer in my city that I refuse to work with, so if my client was insistent on using him, our relationship would meet an abrupt end.

  • Monica P on 2014-04-15 1:49:38 PM

    I've also recently had a complaint from a lawyer's office when using Merix. I forwarded the complaint to my BDM and he told me that they never get complaints from lawyers.

    I think it is very important to provide our lenders with feedback and to also only use lawyers that are broker and not bank friendly.

  • mortgagejake on 2014-04-15 9:34:57 PM

    I would never suggest a lawyer who charges more because of instructions. I empathize with the lawyers who complain about this because it sure makes their life more difficult. HOWEVER lawyers like mortgage brokers are a dime a dozen, you just got to pick one who is competent. I only work with VanguardLG if I have a say in the matter and I know they have knowledge and expertise, and are hungry to grow their business - so they don't whine about FCT and FNF but rather work with the broker and client (and lender).

    I agree monolines must change their back-end policies and instructions but I can't send a deal to a bank b/c their rates are higher, just to make the lawyer's life easier.

  • Lender on 2014-04-16 8:18:49 AM

    I worked at two banks, and no a monoline. I can tell you that the instruction process which is an ONLINE process for both banks and monolines is the same. I can also tell you the 99% of the issues with closing result from the incompetence of the solicitor. and 99% of the time , they blame the lender because its easy to do so. Its time lenders charged more for incompetent solicitors, OR set up do not use lists. but this lender bashing and inaccurate information has to stop. The process can improve, but it is consistent across majority of lenders, including monolines.

  • Kent Farnsworth on 2014-04-16 8:56:54 AM

    @ Lender. Even though I do not have the experience having been a lender, I can assure you that the information requested by most banks vs. most mono-lines is not the same. It is even more excruciating if FNF or FCT is involved. Once a solicitor has experience with the mono-lines then it's different as they know what to expect. I do agree that there is incompetency in part in many cases, coupled with the fact that many lawyers are just plain lazy and want to bill $300 per hour for just signing their name and get angry because their paralegal bitches at them about the mono-line asking for so much more than a traditional bank. All that being said. I completely disagree with you about the process being the same. Clearly if pretty much every broker on this forum is saying quite clearly that there are major issues between mono-lines and lawyers then it's a pretty blatant fact. I do not think it's about most of us bashing lenders as much as it is about wishing that they would work toward making their instructions similar to the banks.

  • Monica P on 2014-04-16 2:17:39 PM

    I think there needs to be some training by the lenders for the solicitors explaining exactly how things need to be done. As brokers we learn what our lenders expect of us and don't expect more compensation for more time spent on a file.

    I think "Lender" is correct that some lawyers are incompetent.

  • Monica P on 2014-04-16 2:17:52 PM

    I think there needs to be some training by the lenders for the solicitors explaining exactly how things need to be done. As brokers we learn what our lenders expect of us and don't expect more compensation for more time spent on a file.

    I think "Lender" is correct that some lawyers are incompetent.

  • Ron Butler on 2014-04-16 7:41:39 PM

    There are a few incompetent solicitors. Most busy real estate lawyers are good at what they do. The issue is that for high volume real estate lawyers there are definitely higher stress levels and higher work loads associated with some lenders over others. That's just true. The lawyers have the problem of not really being able to raise their rates very much from what they were 10 years ago. Let's face it, we get a raise every year when the average house price goes up, not true for most real estate lawyers. So eventually there will push back or a price adjustment against lenders who are harder to deal with.

  • John Bargis on 2014-04-17 5:20:05 PM

    Not all monolines deserve to be painted with the same brush. There are several whose process is actually smoother than the big banks. Further, lets not forget how much the monolines support the broker industry.

    The law firm in many cases is the key to how smooth the process can be. Vanguard Law as an example is highly competent, and makes the referral broker look good. Try them, you'll like the experience - and so will your clients.

  • Alan on 2014-04-20 8:33:17 AM

    Curious as to which lenders are NOT using FCT or FNF to fund...please enlighten me

    Appreciated

  • Kent Farnsworth on 2014-04-20 9:08:52 AM

    @Alan
    Pretty sure that all the big 6 fund mortgages themselves.

  • John Bargis on 2014-04-21 11:50:19 AM

    To Alan....Although most lenders use one or the other Alan, lenders do allow a client to use their own solicitor to facilitate a transaction.

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