The new feature of a lead generation website – where rate shoppers submit applications to site administrators, who then decide which broker to give them to – is raising eyebrows and legal questions among brokers.
“To our knowledge, this complies with provincial regulations,” Vik Palan, president of ratesheet.ca, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “This is one of the avenues for mortgage brokers who really believe in generating leads online.”
ratesheet.ca’s new Mortgage Rate Comparison features, trod out this fall, add a new dimension to the online lead generation process as an increasing number of Canadian brokers now rely on to bring in business.
As an alternative to just providing rate shoppers a list of interest rates and the contact information for the mortgage brokers, ratesheet.ca will now collect application details and then handpick a specific broker to give the deal to. Brokers pay an additional fee for the privilege.
“We get the lead to fill out a mortgage quote form, with credit history, property details, etc,” said Palan, “and then we go to our database and match up those clients with the appropriate broker, based on location and our feedback and assessment of individual brokers based on their high customer service abilities and the number of mortgage professionals they have to service the client.”
The new feature has already riled some brokers, telling MortgageBrokerNews.ca that the service “undervalues” what mortgage brokers do for consumers.”
Ottawa broker Robert Stanfield also has some misgivings about the ratesheet.ca feature, recently sharing those qualms with Palan in an email.
“I’m not against these sites – everyone has a right to do business as they choose, although I just don’t think that they promote the professional image and knowledge of broker,” the Invis agent told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I do question the experience of the people running this website, and what is their ability to vet a broker on behalf of the client?
"Just because a guy can put together a deal quickly doesn’t mean that he’s a licensed or professional broker."
Palan, not a mortgage professional, argues the new service provides a select number of his broker partners with stronger leads and takes some of the time-consuming vetting process off their plates.
It’s also fairly applied, he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca, in that broker selection is performed on a rotational basis, ensuring all appropriate brokers for particular types of deals are considered.
Broker demand for Palan’s more conventional rate comparison features has significantly grown since the site’s launch last December. ratesheet.ca now has more than 400 broker-partners listing rates on its site.
That practice is itself controversial given many are buying down rate in order to better attract rate shoppers.