It may be a matter of taking the bad with the good. But consumer comments about a Globe and Mail article lauding brokers have highlighted the challenges facing the industry, say mortgage professionals.
“This speaks to my point that regardless of consumer awareness, we still need to work on improving the quality of the product,” Mike Cameron, managing partner of Axiom Mortgage, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.
Other brokers were also weighing in on a string of comments for the article, “Why use a mortgage broker.” It also appeared in Thursday’s newspaper.
While the article’s focus on mortgage brokers and their value proposition was overwhelmingly positive, the majority of the 60-plus comments were negative, alleging unethical behaviour and concerns around rates that ultimately proved to be less competitive than those of the banks.
“I have to say that our experience with a mortgage broker was a near disaster,” wrote one reader going by the name Dividend Investor. “Our broker offered us two fixed rate mortgages, either 5.4 or 5.8 percent. Naturally and naively we said, oh, we'll take 5.4. Our broker never even mentioned variable rate mortgages.”
“GrumpyGus” offered the same kind of kind of scathing analysis, at the same time challenging the Globe’s objectivity: “Hmph. My perception was that they were where people who aren't credit-worthy go to buy more than they can afford,” he said. “Nice press release.”
Those comments may back up the concerns of Cameron, whose Mortgage Revolution is focused on elevating broker ethical standards and lifting the bar on skill and professionalism. He’s also suggested that any move to increase consumer awareness of brokers and their value proposition should only come after real strides have been made in those key areas.
B.C. agent Adam Hawryluk, with Canadian Mortgage Experts, was also struck by the negative comments, although suggests they reinforce the need for more consumer education.
There’s obviously going to be a couple bad apples in any group and that’s unfortunate,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I think mortgage brokers in general have to do a better job of educating consumers about the process that goes into arranging mortgages. There are going to be people who are not happy with the process and that may be based on their misperceptions.”
The criticism aside, brokers celebrated the article, with hundreds tweeting and posting links to the GlobeandMail.com webpage late last week.
The story offered brokers a pat on the back, said CAAMP CEO Jim Murphy, one of the many tweeting the good news Friday. But it also helped efforts to promote the AMP. designation
“In addition to the benefits of using a mortgage broker, the article references using an Accredited Mortgage Professional,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It also points people to the CAAMP website to find an AMP closest to them. Brokers need to promote the AMP so that borrowers/consumers become aware -- always good to see in the media.”