Lenders turn to conferences during rate wars

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Channel lenders are moving to capitalize on growing interest in professional development, finding new ways to partner with independent conferences that sweeten the pot for attendees and extend their reach to brokers.

“Basically, what it comes down to is lenders and other exhibitors are acknowledging that it’s as much in their interest to help promote an event as the organizers,” says Joe Rosati, executive director of the Independent Mortgage Brokers Association of Ontario. “The relationship between the two is now much more of a partnership focused on bringing greater value to brokers.”

For its upcoming IMBA conference, and more specifically its trade show, the association has introduced The MoneyBack Booklet, which contains coupons for lender commission bonuses and discounts on interest rates and, even, legal fees and appraisals.

It’s a way for lenders to make new connections with brokers at a time when those mortgage professionals are paring back on the number of lenders they deal with.

They're also finding other opportunities, says the organizer of another broker conference.

Mono-lines and other channel lenders are increasingly coming out from behind the tradeshow booth and addressing brokers from the podium. They’re taking part in the kind of hard-hitting panel discussions many of them used to shy away from.

“We were a bit surprised by the candour with which lenders are now willing to address key broker issues like collateral charges and the effects of a barrage of mortgage rule changes,” says Chris Davis, conference organizer for the upcoming The Mortgage Summit, a two-day Toronto conference powered by CMP and MortgageBrokerNews.ca and set for late May. “I think they see the conference as a way of connecting with brokers beyond what they may have done in years past.”

The trend likely reflects just how aggressive the banks have become in their push to grow originations even as demand slows in some markets.

A punishing rate war has also upped the ante for mono-lines as BMO moves to grow market share outside the broker channel and Scotiabank and National Bank take an increasingly large cut of broker business.

The question has been how to better use conferences to build value for mortgage professionals and get before as many eyeballs as possible.

Along those lines, Davis is pointing to the Summit’s use of a CMP-designed software, Synced, allowing lenders and brokers, and all other conference-goers,  to prearrange face-to-face meeting at the event.

“Synced creates an opportunity for more meaningful connections,” he says. “Lenders and brokers really want that and The Mortgage Summit is aiming to fill that need..”

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