Brokers have made real strides in growing their reputation, said the head of the industry's largest regulator, warning future hiring decisions will either add to or detract from that work.
“We really do have to put the focus on the client, the consumer,” Philip Howell, CEO of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, told more than 400 mortgage professionals at a recent IMBA conference. “In my opinion, your reputation has significantly improves as a result of stronger compliance.
Still, “a bad hire or an employee without proper qualifications can have damaging consequences for a brokerage, but also the industry."
The analysis both applauds progress made by individual mortgage professionals and the industry, as a whole, in the advancing professionalism and growing consumer awareness and respect.
That latter took a hit in the wake of the U.S. housing crisis and the role American mortgage professionals played in arranging subprime mortgages. That unfairly painted Canadian brokers with the same brush, complain industry veterans, although greater regulation both in Ontario and in other provinces has helped to reassure consumers.
Brokers can build a firewall around that growing reputation by ensuring new agents come to the industry demonstrating they have the necessary transferrable skills, said Howell, and “ensuring they get the necessary ongoing training.”
“It’s certainly not my role to tell principal brokers who to hire,” he said. “But (we) always have to have the client’s interest as a primary focus.”