Mortgage broker course gets low marks

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Mortgage broker education in Ontario has devolved to a series of subjects focused on developing administrative proficiency rather than beefing up brokering skills, according to a mortgage professional and instructor for the provincially mandated course.

“I think FSCO’s intent was to make the program more accessible to a greater range of learners,” said Harry Singh, director of the Independent Mortgage Broker Association of Ontario, manager of business development for Equitable Trust and an instructor in the mortgage agent, and mortgage broker programs offered by Seneca College.


“However, the realigned focus does not provide students with enough tools for brokering.”

Seneca College has been the sole provider of the education program for licensing as a mortgage broker in the province for the past four year. However, the contract is up for renewal and FSCO has issued a Request for Proposal for a contract provider to offer the course.

The FSCO Web site states that the program consists of an online course of study and a period of in-class seminars followed by qualifying exams. “The five-day in-class seminars are offered at least once yearly at a location in Ontario where the demand is greatest,” FSCO said.

Recently MortgageBrokerNews.ca reported on plans by the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA), the Independent Mortgage Brokers Association of Ontario (IMBA) and the Mortgage Brokers Association of Atlantic Canada (MBAAC) to collaborate on  supporting, educating and unifying the Canadian mortgage brokerage industry.

“Over the last few years, the bar to becoming a broker has been lowered to the point that many brokers are entering the field not fully prepared,” Singh said. “The program used to have a comprehensive apprenticeship component, now students are just required to have worked as a mortgage agent for at least 24 months.”

But a course content that is heavy on “management-type subjects” and lean on topics such as accounting, underwriting, business training, real-estate law and law pertaining to mortgages, worries Singh more.

“It looks like students are being trained to become managers and HR personnel rather than brokers,” said Singh.

 

  • Mtge Man on 2012-09-12 3:40:46 AM

    And that is bad??

  • JERRY J. ROSE on 2012-09-12 3:49:40 AM

    I HAVE FELT FOR SOME TIME THAT THE MORTGAGE BROKERS COURSE NEEDS TO BE UPDATED.WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE CONCENTRATING ON MATH SKILLS FOR WHEN EVERONE OVER THE AGE OF 5 HAS A COMPUTER.I BELIEVE YOU SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO BECOME A MORTGAGE BROKER UNTIL YOU HAVE AT LEAST 24 MONTHS EXPERIENCE AS A LICENSED MORTGAGE AGENT.

  • Lee Welbanks on 2012-09-12 3:55:16 AM

    I personally found the course to be a bit of a joke. Harry is correct in saying that the bar is too low. I'm thankful to have my license, but when I look at the barriers to entry for this industry, this course does not set the proper tone. If you did nothing else but study the review notes, you would probably be ready to answer 80% of the exam questions. The exact same questions were used in both, with no changing of numbers or details. Word-for-word, the exact same. It's laughable.

  • Wayne Robinson on 2012-09-12 3:57:56 AM

    We are portfolio managers and operate a public Mortgage Investment Corporation. As such we rely heavily on mortgage brokerages and their agents sending us deals through Filogix. Our underwriters get very frustrated with many agents across the province because their submissions to us are just not up to a reasonable standard. Either they have not had adequate training, adequate supervision or they just do not understand the needs of an alternate lender. The barriers of entry to the industry are now way too low.

  • Kevin on 2012-09-12 4:03:23 AM

    Maybe it is time that Mortgage Brokers, like Financial Advisors, are federally regulated. That way there would at least be consistent education across Canada.

  • Christopher on 2012-09-12 4:05:30 AM

    I studied all that material - in far greater detail though the ICB (now CSI) years ago. As a broker for over years, I believe apprenticeship is more effective training for the real world.

  • Max Cafissi on 2012-09-12 4:41:39 AM

    I agree with Jerry. The bar has been lowered way too far. Requirements to being Licenced as a Mortgage Broker should at least be comparable to becoming a Real Estate Broker, and they are even too lax. Having said that, Bank Mortgage Specialists have an even easier route to providing "expert" Financial advice to prospective Mortgagors. Why not also up the requirements for being hired by one of the Banks ? If the Government really wants to level the playing field, make the educational requirements the same for anyone in the Mortgage Industry, Bank Employee or Broker. Then we would really be able to see who the "experts" are.

  • Adam Kline on 2012-09-12 8:13:49 AM

    RE agents study a lot more just to become agents, and they are not dealing directly with money. Standards are so low and the course does not teach much everyone and their dog are part time mortgage agents including convenience store cashiers, taxi drivers,hotels cleaning staff etc... 10 yrs of professional experience and someone off the street with high school deploma can take this one easy course and become an agent like me and start submitting deals without much knowledge.

  • John Dearin RPA,. AMP. on 2012-09-12 9:36:47 PM

    We took the unconventional approach of training all our agents in house. All files are reviewed at each critical point, and all clients are called for an interview, whether a mortgage was completed or not. As a brokerage, we take responsibility for our agents and their training and when they fall, the brokerage falls. We have tripped a few times, but I think we do a pretty good job. Any government/Association courses that are mandated on us in the future will always be supplemented with in house training.

  • John Gimblett on 2012-09-13 10:54:48 PM

    As the first order of business FSCO needs to re-visit the genesis of mortgage broker licensing and the fact that so many brokers including real estate agents were grandfathered. these folks have never taken the existing 5 day broker course. Let us start there before we start a dialogue on an upgrade for the existing program. Harry is 100% correct in identifying the wasted time on the HR component currently in the course, it is over the top and the time could be used in discussions of real life brokering.

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