Sears Canada selects Mortgage Alliance

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This month will see one of Canada’s largest retailers offer its customers mortgages as part of a new financial arm and those mortgages will be managed by Mortgage Alliance Canada.

Sears Financial will begin to offer a complete portfolio of home financing products, including mortgages, home equity line of credits, debt consolidation and home renovation loans to its customers in Ontario and has selected MAC as its new mortgage partner.

Michael Beckette, Mortgage Alliance President and CEO said that he was thrilled by the opportunity to work with Sears Financial and help the company build a successful real estate and mortgage services division.

“Sears is an iconic Canadian brand and offering their customers real estate and mortgage service division is a logical evolution for Sears Financial,” he said. “This is a triple win; for Sears, Mortgage Alliance and the Canadian mortgage broker industry. Sears is one of the most trusted and respected brands in Canada and they chose Mortgage Alliance.

"This confirms our position as the industry leader and ... benefits every Mortgage Alliance professional across Canada.”

Sears Canada is also shedding light on why it went with MAC at a time when all networks are looking to establish partnerships that elevate their profile and help drive consumer awareness.

“The review and competition process was effective in allowing us to determine that Mortgage Alliance would be the most suitable organization with which to build a relationship in the mortgage service arena,” said Vassil Chalashkanov, divisional vice-president of retail banking & insurance for Sears Financial. “We believe they can bring invaluable insights and equity that will benefit Sears and, more importantly, our customers.”
 

  • Mortgage Guy on 2012-05-17 1:22:39 AM

    No need to pay for your clothing at Sears, just finance them into your home! It's things like this that make the mortgage broker industry look bad. You even have Harold the jeweler giving out mortgages. Who's next? The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart? Is it just me, or do other Mortgage Professionals feel the same way about this?

  • Jim T.. Advent Mortgage on 2012-05-17 1:47:01 AM

    Good on you Michael and TMACC. This business is all about distribution and this is forward thinking on your part. Not only does it elevate the perception of brokers in the consumers eye, but it also creates more flow-through for your firm. Good job!!

  • Bill on 2012-05-17 1:52:53 AM

    Sears? its a dying dog, the only people that shop there are people 70 and older.

  • Paul Mangion on 2012-05-17 1:59:20 AM

    It is pathetic and will probably fail. Who calls Sears for anything nowadays? You pay way more but at least you have financing at 28%.

  • James on 2012-05-17 2:34:16 AM

    Sears is losing its shirt to its competitors right now... They are closing several stores, and more will come given that so few of their locations are profitable. This is a brand that was voted to be gone I the next 15 years... I would not associate with them if I was running a business. They are not supported by the consumer... And people don't go to sears to get mortgages... They g o to buy sub par clothing.

  • Kevin on 2012-05-17 2:35:34 AM

    Good for TMACC... Although they seem to be spreading thin... They are dismantling one brand because they could not make it fly... How are they going to keep this one afloat?

  • Matt on 2012-05-17 2:39:01 AM

    Sears as a mortgage provider? Sounds like they are grasping at straws to try to save a dying brand. Sears financial lost money last year, and their stores were I the hole more than 17 million last quarter. If the consumer does not trust the brand enough to buy from them now... Why would they trust them with their mortgage?

  • Jeremy on 2012-05-17 3:01:09 AM

    Why is Sears getting into the mortgage business? Did it work well for Canadian Tire, how about Wallmart? It's only a matter of time until Sears folds and why have more bad press from consumers wondering if their mortgage will be renewed or called at maturity? It wasn't that long ago when a few lenders went under, issued notices that renewals would not be possible and to seek out alternative financing. Now if I'm misunderstanding and Sears is strictly referring to MAC and MAC placing the business with existing lenders in today's mortgage market, then I too think it's a great partnership. It's all about distribution and brand awareness. This is what Costco is doing, however, they are baiting nieve consumers with bought down rates. I hate bait and switch tactics!

  • Don C on 2012-05-17 3:16:08 AM

    Good for you guys over at MACC. Whether Sears succeeds or not is not the point here. This is a positive affirmation for the industry as a whole and mortgage professionals. I'm pretty sure Sears did their homework and looked for services of not only other Brokerages but Lenders with capacity to facilitate as well. For MACC to win out over everyone, good for them. It's a testiment to the quality of the organization.
    Honestly, anyone slamming Sears or MACC has to really take a step back and look at the big picture. Remember, the Bay was in the same shoes as Sears not so long ago.

  • Richard on 2012-05-17 3:53:16 AM

    The mortgage industry is under enough scrutiny as it is, and now to be able to get a mortgage at Sears, which in my opinion represents "lower end", seems to minimize the professionalism we are trying to establish and promote as an AMP. I think it sends a confusing message to the consumer.

  • Mark on 2012-05-17 4:57:26 AM

    Hey Mortgage Guy - it is just you and your myopic ways that thinks this makes the mortgage industry look bad.

    Sour grapes sir. That's what it is. Grow up and find your own massive relationships.

  • John Dearin RPA,. AMP. on 2012-05-17 5:24:47 AM

    I'll send back my credit card and let them know I will not be buying from Sears any more...well not that I did in the past. Best of luck to Mortgage Alliance on this but i think they have hooked their cart to a dying horse. Three years time and Sears will be bought out by a US firm...they love mortgage brokers!

  • Mortgage Guy on 2012-05-17 5:38:07 AM

    Hey Mark- no need to get defensive, my myopic ways seem to be working on my end. When Sears fails in about a years time you will eat your words. Seems to me that you may have an interest in this relationship. Furthermore, the only relationships I need are the great ones I have established with my network and clients. Good day to you Sir!

  • Rob Campbell, Verico The Mortgage Wellness Group on 2012-05-17 6:29:59 AM

    This is a Gong Show. Period.
    Great business move for MACC but I can't help but think this will cheapen the image even more.
    "Would you like to put that mortgage on your Sears Card?"

  • Jim T.....Advent mortgage on 2012-05-17 11:11:07 AM

    You guys are a bunch of clowns. Why do you have a need to bash your fellow brokers because they were smart enough ton create another distribution channel for themselves? With respect to this diminishing the professionalism of brokers because of this new relationship, on the contrary, it helps to improve the brokers image as we are now endorsed by Sears. Hey, has the brand CHANEL been diminished by sellling via Sears? I think not. It makes no difference if this works for TMACC or not. The point is they created value for themselves. How many of you naysayers can say that? I suspect not many of you -especially you guys that do not have the guts to put your full names.

  • AB Broker on 2012-05-17 11:26:11 PM

    The Canadian department-store retailer has struggled for years to make gains
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/sears-to-partly-spin-off-canada-business/article2435512/?utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_source=Business%20Ticker&utm_type=text&utm_content=Sears%20to%20partly%20spin%20off%20Canada%20business&utm_campaign=95110412

  • Louie Bettio, Brand Champion, Mortgage Alliance on 2012-05-18 12:22:23 AM

    It's abundantly clear that shortsighted people are missing the BIG story here…perhaps fueled by their own selfish reasons. Sears chose a Mortgage Broker versus a Bank! That benefits ALL of us. Sears is one of the most trusted brands in Canada. A fact backed by research. Mortgage Alliance is one of the most recognized and respected mortgage broker brands in Canada and we were awarded the business after Sears reviewed national mortgage brokers. And unlike other entities, Sears is in a unique position having a long established history in the Home Furnishings, Appliances and Renovations categories...offering Professional Home Financing is a natural evolution of the company's services. All mortgage enquiries will be managed my Mortgage Alliance. Sears is a company with a location within a 10-minute drive of 93% of Canadians. About 33,000 associates and a $1.34B market capitalization selected a mortgage broker to partner with on this initiative pays dividends to the mortgage brokerage industry and Mortgage Alliance especially each time you hear “Mortgages Arranged by Mortgage Alliance” on every Sears Radio ad.

  • Keith on 2012-05-18 5:33:46 AM

    Louie, Fair enough that there will be a good market representation for this, but let's be clear... Mortgage Alliance bid on this contract as did several other brands in Canada. The fact of the matter is that I know of two brands who walked away in the middle of the bidding process because Sears could not substantiate nor support the marketing program for this model.

    Sears has been routinely voted as being one of the ten brands that will cease to exist in the next decade - by several different organizations and think tanks. Why? Because their customer base is aging, and their sales have been dropping - regularly. They are the only major retailer in Canada that has been operating on a loss for the past several years. They are closing several of their sotres because of the huge losses they have been taking.

    Home financiang is not a natural evolution of their product offerings, it is Sears trying to find a way to stop gap their business. The Sears Home Stores are suffering greatly due to lack of business, their home renovation program is more expensive than their competition, and they have quality reputation issues.

    Why they went with a broker instead of a bank? Because none of the banks supported the business model, they saw no value in it. Just as some of the other brokers brands walked away from the proposal, so did the banks.

    I hope that MACC can make it work, but the fact is - the broker industry in Canada is undergoing signifigant change. Broker market share is dropping, and this addition will not change that, all it will potentially do is grab more share from the existing broker platform. The banks have more money, greater brand stability, and a stronger reputation that Sears will ever have in this country.

    People go to Sears to buy retail items and that is diminishing... why would you get a mortgage there too? Sears cannot compete with the banks, they do not have the money, nor do they have the brand power they once had... other retailers have tried and failed miserably. Sears is crazy if they think that they will be able to do what bigger wealthier brands could not.

  • Tina on 2012-05-18 9:49:29 AM

    I know several Sears employees that, even with their employee discount, will not deal with the Sears renovation services due to shoddy work and more importantly because they are more expensive than almost anyone in the industry. I agree with Keith, this is not a natural evolution nor does it make sense. I wish MACC well, but I doubt very much that they will get the uptake they think they will. The Sears brand is not known for mortgages, and this is a long shot for Sears and MACC

  • Liz on 2012-05-18 9:58:06 AM

    So let me get this correct... Instead of MACC just focusing on driving volume through their existing franchise network and picking up market share that way, they are going to further dilute the broker channel by introducing a new mortgage broker brand to an industry that is already in flux? How is this responsible management of their role as a franchised brand provider? This is why when they aggressively tried to get me to join I turned them down and went with a brand that actually focuses on building their own brand.

  • Angela on 2012-05-18 10:23:12 AM

    Liz, I have to agree with your comments. Even with the Sears Mortgage being provided by MAC and advertised that way, this still dilutes the market and the MAC brand. This is a risky move. Although I don't generally support MAC I hope for their sake it works..

  • Derek Rowley, RMAI on 2012-05-18 1:22:36 PM

    Keith

    Your comments hold much truth. Having said that, I do wish TMAC all the best in their newest endeavor with Sears. As a mortgage agent, I will consume myself more with what I can do with my market and not worry at all as to whether or not Sears will be successful. Personally I do feel that Sears will fall like many others in our by-gone days. More importantly we shouyld focus our attention on the OSFI and what damage they are about to inflict and also the agressiveness of the banks and lack of support from our non-banking lenders who are whimping out on us. So let's not worry about Sears as we have bigger fish to fry.

    Best reagrds to all

    Derek

  • Jim on 2012-05-18 1:36:15 PM

    Sears US is bailing on Sears Canada, Target is entering the marketplace to eat up even more of their share, next is Nordstroms... And MAC thinks this is a good idea? Every savvy investor and even the parent company of Sears Canada are bailing on the brand... This could spell the end of MAC too. The question becomes... Will MAC get hurt when sears collapses? The answer... Yes they will.

  • Jim on 2012-05-19 2:48:27 AM

    Louie, You can try to justify the partnership until you are blue in the face, but the facts speak for themselves... Sears is in serious financial trouble, and that is not speculation - it is coming from the mouths of their own executive office. As for Mortgage Alliance being the pioneer in all of those areas... they were not the first to have many of the items you listed, not even close. Mortgage Alliance has been struggling to keep their top offices and this move is not going to help.

    Keith mentioned that a couple of other brands walked away from the proposal, and so I did some investigation. I happen to have some friends who work at Sears Corporate, and guess what - they confirmed that comment.

    I wish you guys good luck with it, but to ignore the reality that is in the media, in the stock market, and in their own hallowed halls regarding Sears... well... you say that people have a dark cloud hangind over their head... better a dark cloud than blinders on.

  • qrej on 2012-05-19 4:28:36 AM

    All I can say is great move MAC, you are moving forward unlike speculators thinking the opposite way I like the idea of making things happen and not just wondering how it happened..

  • Paul Therien, Director of Business Development, Ce on 2012-05-19 4:57:34 AM

    As a person who is in charge of Business Development for a broker brand, I can tell you that partnerships are something not to be so easily dismissed - regardless of who they are with.

    CENTUM has created several successful partnerships in the past 12 months, and they have all greatly benefitted our network and the consumers. We continue to work with several large national companies today with the launch of additional partner programs.

    I may have the PERSONAL opinion that this partnership (with Sears) is risky because of what is currently happening with the Sears brand, but I do applaud MAC for taking the initiative. They have a strong brand, and they run a good business. Sears is no different than other huge retail brands that have struggled, true - some do collapse, but there are those that have survived and thrived. Don't count Sears out just yet.

    Will the Sears Mortgage platform be successful? Who knows? Ultimately that is up to the consumer to decide. This early in the game it is too early to tell. People who post such strongly opinionated commentary here… well you might be right… but you may also end up with egg in your face. You are certainly not doing our industry any favours.

    Good Luck with this Mortgage Alliance, I wish you well. The success of the broker industry in Canada depends on ALL of us being successful… not just the few.

  • Who is Jim? on 2012-05-19 3:15:58 PM

    Is Jim, actually Kevin from DLC?

  • Louie Bettio, Brand Champion, Mortgage Alliance on 2012-05-19 2:15:08 AM

    There’s a saying, “me think they doth protest too much”…how appropriate in this instance, as many seem to be (as others have implied) masking their own form of jealousy. If you believe in the power of the brand, including your company’s, then why lack the courage to use your own name or your company’s name?....not “bold” enough I suppose. To those who have, I respect and applaud you, regardless the nature of your sentiment.

    As the story read: “Sears Canada is also shedding light on why it went with MAC at a time when all networks are looking to establish partnerships that elevate their profile and help drive consumer awareness.”
    So instead of projecting your personal disgruntlement and frustration whilst hiding behind the shield of anonymity, focus your energies on augmenting your own position and reputation versus lamenting over some one else’s strategic gains. Focus on improving the industry then we all win. Just like in this instance.

    Mortgage Alliance has always been one of the industry’s pioneers and key innovators regarding Brand, Technology, Product Development, Education/ Training, Administration Management and Strategic Partnerships…and we’ve become accustomed and except the attention that these attributes garner. Fortunately for us, Mortgage Alliance is culture that embodies the essence of family and professionalism….something that’s clearly lacking within many of these comments.

    Fyi, received two phone calls this morning from people NOT in our industry telling me they just heard the Sears/Mortgage Alliance radio spot. “Cool and Awesome” was their comment. Impressed by the new Sears offering and equally impressed by Mortgage Alliance. What was it that the story said? “establish partnerships that elevate their profile and help drive consumer awareness.” Yup, stay focused on the “real consumer” and you’ll win every time.

    Wishing everyone a Happy Victoria Day long weekend. Forecast looks great. Get the sunscreen ready,… except for those who seem to have a dark cloud hanging over them, you won’t need it. However, in the spirit of “kaizen” we hope you will see the light one-day.

    By the way, I would like to extend a personal invitation to all of you in joining us this year for the 4th annual MAC Rally of Hope. Last year we raised over $110,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (2nd in community corporate fundraising nationally!) This year were supporting the Weekend To End Women’s Cancers. Our goal is to raise over $200,000. You can also join us for the Walk in September if you like…vist www.mortgagealliance.com for all the details.

    Proud Mortgage Alliance Brand Champion and Family Member.
    And ALWAYS proud to use my real name.

    Thank you for making this the most talked about story in mortgagebrokernews. We expected it.

Broker news forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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