Switching FirstLine clients given run-around

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Brokers are worried that their FirstLine clients may be getting the run-around when they attempt to switch to any lender other than CIBC.

“On numerous occasions, clients with FirstLine who chose to go with another lender other than CIBC when their mortgage comes for renewal are finding it very difficult to switch,” alleges broker Scott Bentley, with Verico Premier Mortgage Centre in Nova Scotia. “Even though the client has signed and authorized the Request for a Mortgage Statement to initiate the switch, the requests are being ignored.”

After repeated attempts to have their documents processed, clients are told that their existing FirstLine reference numbers no longer exist and that they must call CIBC personally in order to obtain a new CIBC reference number, Bentley told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.

It’s only after numerous phone calls some clients are learning that no new reference number has been issued, said Bentley.

For instance, one client who called in a request for a CIBC reference number was transferred from one service agent to another several times, he said.

“Clearly, the client was being given the run around,” said Bentley. “He was later told emphatically that there is ‘no other reference number.’ “

The transfer was only completed when the client went to a CIBC branch and personally complained to the manager about the delay, he said.

“I wonder how many other brokers and therefore clients are being held up on transactions with a tricky little retention tactic being utilized,” said Bentley.

He alleges that such tactics are also being employed on refinance transactions.

“In one such case, a lawyer was flat out refused a copy of the discharge statement,” Bentley said. “Once again the client was required to call in to get the magical New CIBC Reference number .”

  • LanceH on 2012-10-02 4:28:39 AM

    FL always did brokers a hard time with discharge stmts. I used to have to call the bdm ever time and get them to intervene!!A complaint to FSCO might do the trick!!

  • Scott on 2012-10-03 3:43:42 AM

    Has anyone like our CAAMP or regional bodies contacted OFSI or securities over this practice.

  • EX-CIBC Manager now Mortgage Broker on 2012-10-03 5:40:06 AM

    CIBC is infamous for this type of behaviour. Even trying to get a payout for a CIBC originated mortgage requires quite a bit of strategy. I was a bank manager with them for 8 years. Here is what I would recommend: get your client to call from your office - get them to hand you the phone, and remind the rep that this is their legal right to obtain their own financial information. If info is still refused, ask to be escalated to their internal Ombudsman. Threaten to have your client go to the Canadian Ombudsman if you don't succeed from there, I would be surprised if it gets that far. CIBC is slow to act, UNLESS their Ombudsman gets involved and then they are quicker than any of the big 5. I have seen things drag on for 6 months until the ombudsman's office is involved and then resolve in less than a day...Sad but true. Hope that helps someone out there - good luck.

  • John Dearin RPA,. AMP. on 2012-10-04 8:21:38 PM

    You still have to follow the CIBC, or any banks complaint process first before the Ombudsman will get involved. I have used the threat personally before with another bank and the results were amazing, my payout statement was at the lawyers before I got back to the office. Here is the CIBC process:

    https://www.cibc.com/ca/cibc-and-you/to-our-customers/service-commitment/resolving-complaints.html

  • Sharon on 2012-10-06 3:47:06 AM

    I dread every time i have a client who is a Firstline client and they want to pay them out. It so infuriating. I did so much business with them 4 to 5 years ago and I regret it very much.

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