There’s one – and, perhaps, only one – reason to thank the growing number of mobile mortgage specialists, said a Mississauga broker, pointing to the increased demand to meet clients where they live, in places more conducive to generating referrals.
“In the last year alone, I’ve seen a 20 per cent rise in the number of clients asking me to come out to their homes and businesses to arrange their mortgages instead of agreeing to come to my office,” said Kelvin Seepersad, a 12-year veteran broker with Mortgage Intelligence. “I think that growing demand is because of the growing number of bank road reps who are meeting clients where the client wants to meet. Brokers are having to adapt to be competitive.”
Make no mistake: that’s a good thing, he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca, suggesting client referrals have also increased as a direct result of the growing number of house calls.
“The increase in client referrals to friends in families by conducting consultations in the home have increased significantly for me,” Seepersad said, identifying two reasons. “Meeting them at home personalizes the client’s commitment to the broker, who then becomes more than just a business person, but a friend to refer other friends and family to. Also, just being in the home, allows the broker to come directly into contact with potential clients – relatives and friends of the client.”
The analysis puts a positive spin on the growing concern of brokers, watching the big banks bolster their teams of mobile mortgage specialists.
RBC, alone, took on 1,000 new sales employees in the last 14 months – a large percentage of them mortgage specialists and five times as many as it took on the previous year. And, BMO, which left the channel in 2007, added 1,000 frontline workers of its own in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. They helped drive sales, with the bank bumping up the value of its residential mortgages by $2 billion, year-over-year.
Bank want ads calling for those specialists now crowd online headhunting sites, indicating the Big Six remain focused on adding to their numbers.
The increasingly crowded field of competitors means brokers have had little choice but to match their flexibility, argue mortgage professionals, now spending less time at the office than they did even a year ago.
But brokers can’t afford to give up those work premises, despite shifting client preferences, said Seepersad.
“Mortgage brokers still need an office to lend them credibility with the client,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca, “They don’t have a bank’s name behind them.”