Poll results: Skill discrepancy between brokers and banks

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We asked readers if bank specialists were as skilled as brokers, and the results are in.

An impressive 80 per cent of MortgageBrokerNews.ca readers believe brokers have deeper knowledge of the industry than their bank specialist counterparts – that despite job functions so closely linked.

A very slim minority – 20 per cent – believe they are equally skilled and knowledgeable.

The discussion was sparked by one bank road rep who shared a list of secrets with MBN about working for the “other side.”

According to the rep, a high funding specialist with CIBC, banks rarely lose deals to brokers because of any discrepancy is service.

“That’s almost always on rate and not because of any service deficit,” the GTA mortgage specialist said, “and it’s been a relatively consistent (figure) over the last five years. So brokers aren’t gaining or losing momentum in today’s mortgage war.”

That same rep believes brokers’ number one value proposition is rate – and not the service and expertise brokers count as their greatest point of differeniation.

“I would say that broker rates tend to be about 10% lower than ours,” the rep said. “Which isn’t to say that we won’t match those rates in many cases.”

Still, rates aren’t where brokers expect to win the day, or, indeed, the client, suggests the poll. Respondents are reasserting the importance what they believe is the broker channel’s superior knowledge of product and process.
  • Ron Butler on 2015-04-09 11:35:52 AM

    I am shocked, an audience of mainly mortgage brokers thinks its likely mortgage brokers are more skillful and knowledgeable than bank specialists.

  • Sean Smith on 2015-04-09 11:44:00 AM

    To piggy back on Ron's point. Im even more shocked that its only 80%!

  • KJL on 2015-04-09 11:48:10 AM

    Actually surprised is as high as 20 !! Still have a problem with the phrase "Mortgage Specialist" - how can anyone be a specialist in any field if you are pushing just one product ?????? Never mind they are all branch fed !! No matter what they say - they are branch fed !!

  • Ron Butler on 2015-04-09 11:51:16 AM

    They specialize in mortgages and nothing else so there is nothing wrong with the name. Some of them work with branches but I can assure you some do not. I think it is silly to pointlessly attack bank mortgage reps when some of the very best mortgage brokers in this country started as bank reps.

  • KJL on 2015-04-09 11:53:32 AM

    Surprised Mr. Butler this coming from you !!!

  • Ron Butler on 2015-04-09 12:13:55 PM

    I fight with banks for new business every hour of the business day but I learned it is better to study your opponent for what they do well than simply say they are a bunch of jerks. And facts are facts, a ton of mortgage brokers started as bank reps; were they lazy, poorly trained and bad when they were with the banks and then became hardworking, skilled and good the day they became a broker? That's just dumb.

  • Guy Lew on 2015-04-09 12:16:39 PM

    Surprisingly enough some of my mortgage agent friends recently defected over to the bank side and they say the qualification process is so different. As a broker, lenders make us jump through hurdles of hoops and to find ways to decline the file. As a bank rep, they are almost auto approved and they look for ways to fund the deal without getting into trouble. Two total opposite style as banks I feel are gaining grounds over mortgage agents. My friends say funding through inhouse bank reps is so much easier than being an mortgage agent with a lot less stress. They also tell me the bank reps without mortgage training are really poorly trained and go out slashing rates to get deals.

  • Brett Stephens on 2015-04-09 12:21:07 PM

    I know a few specialist that work in branch and think its unfair to label them as less skilled. They know their products and execute their skill as well as any of us within the domain in which they operate. I agree most brokers are more knowledge or informed about the industry as a whole. We are on the ground working through multiple channels and avenues through out the industry. I don’t think we even need a survey to realise that and since their title seems to be a concern here, simply put, a change of title to Product Specialist would be the solution.......

  • nancy on 2015-04-09 12:24:59 PM

    I'm very surpised that most of you have absolutely no clue as to what a mortgage Rep working with the bank actually does from the perosn who has worked as a broker and now works at a bank, I can assure you the skill set is just as intense if not more. Most of my old pals that are still in the broker world have had to take up parttime jobs to supplement thier incomes. Its funny how much bank bashing goes on here, Sign of the times. Good Luck.

  • James Robinson on 2015-04-09 12:49:44 PM

    Having been on both sides for the last 27 years I would suggest that both the banks and the brokerages have 20% excellent, 20% abysmal, and 60% who struggle to be mediocre. I would suggest that this type of ratio applies to all businesses and consumers have to be astute enough to seek out the 20% at the top. Bank employees have a clear mandate to sell their employers products and convince their customers that they are the best available. As brokers, we provide more choice and the best brokers provide advice and recommend products that are most suitable to our customers. I love competition as it allows my customers and prospects to compare me to what else is available and while I don't always win the customer, I have a pretty good batting average.

  • Matt on 2015-04-09 2:05:18 PM

    There are as many strong and poor brokers as there are mortgage specialists... anyone who believes otherwise is dilusional. The only reason I might tend to agree with the skill set being broader on the broker side is because the broker industry is becoming more and more and "B" and private solution. "A" business is basically owned by the banks now and believe me, if they want a client bas enough there isn't a broker in the world that will win the business. It's laughable reading the posts here some times, like I said on another post if you think for even one second BNS and TD wouldn't pull their money if they could you'd be saddely mistaken. BMO, CIBC... who's next? Your lucky the two left have an abismal mortgage sales team and have to lose all their deals to brokers offering the same product and buying down the rate or to their own branches... unreal.

  • Ron Butler on 2015-04-09 2:19:03 PM

    Matt, I think that some of us take A business away from banks everyday. In theory the banks could shut down their capital markets funding of alternate mortgage providers but I don't see that happening anytime soon. It's a big market and Canadians deserve great rates and great service and advice, as long as that happens: mortgage brokers can fight the good fight all day long and the banks will always be ferocious competitors.

  • John Greenlee on 2015-04-12 11:18:53 AM

    Matt - I have to agree with Ron here.

    85% of the business in our office in 2014 was A business.

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