The 'Missing-in-action' send regrets

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It’s undoubtedly – undeniably! – the biggest event on Canada’s mortgage calendar, with more than 1,600 industry professionals now gathered in Toronto.

The CAAMP Mortgage Forum officially opened Monday, with a roster of speakers -- from a former prime minister to a leading comic – all highlighting the growing importance of a conference many consider a must for mortgage brokers.

“We’ve never had such an illustrious lineup,” said Michael Ellenzweig, CAAMP’s VP of member services. We’ve really gone all out to bring in the best speakers,”

But some brokers are opting to pass on this year’s festivities, offering reasons from time and budget constraints to scheduling conflicts.

In the words of brokers themselves, here’s a sampling of the reasons why you might not see some of your colleagues at this year’s extravaganza, although all bets are off for 2012.

“I would actually love to be at CAAMP, but won't be making it until late on Monday due to a prior family commitment” – Dave W. Butler, Ontario broker, Verico Butler Mortgage

“I get far more value from the one on one interaction with the lenders at the office, than in a conference setting ...Working with lenders in a business setting I find is very productive in comparison to wondering around from booth to booth ... Too busy to invest the time ... The social settings in the evenings with the lenders are another story altogether.” – John S. Bargis, Ontario broker, Mortgage Edge

“I am flying to Bangkok for a couple of weeks.” – Chris Dopp, Ontario broker, The Mortgage Centre - Elite Mortgage Group

“Although I greatly value the opportunities CAAMP presents to learn about the lenders products and to meet others in the industry I would be good with attending a Western CDN CAAMP every second year. The next plane I get on that takes me away from the office needs to land in Maui and have my family on it as well.” – Dustan Woodhouse, B.C. broker, Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts

“It’s expensive, and I don't encourage agents to go because all the brokerages are trying to recruit everybody else's agents. They should not allow brokers to have booths there!” – Paul Mangion, Ontario broker, The Mortgage Centre in Mississauga

“Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the CAAMP conference this year. Basically, it’s due to the opportunity costs associated with the time away from the office. Being out of province it requires more of a commitment to attend the conference compared to living and working in the area where the conference is happening. There’s the opportunity cost of being away from the office for three or four days when you have to leave your province for it. Of course some will say knowledge is power and it’s a great networking event, and I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but maybe not every year.” – Leslie Penney, Newfoundland broker, Mortgage Alliance APlus Mortgage Group

  • Ottawa Broker on 2011-11-22 3:59:34 AM

    I have attended numerous CAAMP conferences over my 14 years as a broker, but in all honesty, the cost of the conference is just ludicrious. Almost $900 to attend, that is way to high. Basically, at this price, your ROI is very low.

  • Ontario Broker on 2011-11-22 4:40:22 AM

    CAAMP conference.....a very expensive source of "free" pens & coffee cups....another indication of how out of touch this organization is with
    the reality of the industry & the times.

  • Belleville Broker on 2011-11-22 5:14:00 AM

    I Attended last year a IMBA event held here in Belleville and it was great meeting lots of the lenders and great discussions and it cost $45 plus tax now CAAMP want $900 for a 3 day event ! NO WAY will I ever pay anywhere close to that. They should give us the option to attend just 1 day of our choice for a discounted price and forget all the fancy trimmings like "Howie" and stick to what is important - and give value to it's members instead of ripping us off !

  • Toronto DT Broker on 2011-11-22 6:49:32 AM

    A bit of a veteran here that has never been to a CAAMP conference and probably never will. My understanding is that the trade show portion of it is for lenders and other service providers to "pitch their wares" to people like me.
    Why do I want to pay $900+ to have someone fundamentally sell me something. I wonder how many clients would walk into my storefront brokerage if there was a charge to get in. When was the last time anyone paid The Bay,Canadian Tire, Home Depot or Future Shop to browse for their purchases. I think the lenders should cut back on the 'glad" times during CAAMP and use the savings to bring down the fees to attend to zero or near to zero.

  • @kiltedbroker on 2011-11-22 4:44:28 PM

    Funny, I wish I was there, kinda feeling bad I didn't go... oh well, maybe next year! Hope everyone enjoys their time!

  • Lior on 2011-11-23 2:43:52 AM

    Never been to one but I spoke with other brokers who were there in the past. The consensus is it's a good place to go if you're new and you want to meet with the presenting lenders and learn more about their products and get to know the industry. But as others have indicated, the ROI is highly questionable considering the costs of attending. I personally prefer to just meet with lenders personally in a less noisy environment.

  • Carlo on 2011-11-23 1:07:09 PM

    I have provided feedback to CAAMP leadership in my past lives working for a couple of lenders that this event needs to attract the up and comers looking to grow, learn and build important relationships. Its not solely for the long standing established brokers. At $900, its too expensive for the up and comers. I have suggested approx $200 daily passes as an option with access to the lender expo. This is who the lenders should want to see there as well..But my suggestion has never received a response. Lenders, I suggest you direct and lobby CAAMP leadership in making these events open and affordable to those who need it most. This would provide greater value for all including the growth and success of our channel.

  • Frank from Flin Flon on 2011-11-24 2:34:39 AM

    Of the 1600 "professionals" in attendance, how many we're from lenders, insurers service providers, or bank road reps?
    Now the true test, of the more than 10,000 licensed agents & brokers in Ontario & say another 6000 in the rest of the country, how many attended?

  • Mike from Toronto on 2011-11-24 3:14:14 AM

    I can understand important prior commitments, geography, and related costs may create difficulties in attending the annual conference for some. Let's not however, bellyache about the relevance of the association and the benefits we ALL enjoy today. It's easy to drive down a paved road and not give it a single thought of those who tolled to build it. We need to support and re-invest into OUR industry, especially now. Of course we could do better, and perhaps tweak it a bit - I like what Carlo suggested. Sorry to ramble, but let's stand united.

  • Frank from Flin Flon on 2011-11-24 5:38:32 AM

    To Mike from Toronto, you sound like a CAAMP employee trying to protect your job!
    Using your analogy, CAAMP is a poorly built road, designed by lenders & insurers for lenders & insurers, going in the wrong direction.
    What we need are strong PROVINCIAL or REGIONAL organizations built by & only for mortgage agents & brokers.

  • BC Broker on 2011-11-25 4:24:56 AM

    For the first time I went to CAAMP this year, and although the speakers were fantasitc, I have to tell you... the total cost for my weekend: $900 to attend, $1300.00 flight, $1200 for hotel, $400 for food - that is a $3800.00 conference. Really? I did NOT get $3800 in value - not even close. Last year I attended at least one event a month with speakers here in BC - a total of 16 events. My total cost for the year... $3200 - I got to network with other brokers, lenders, investors, realtors, etc. so for less money I got 16 networking opportunities - vs - more money for one. CAAMP charges more for ALL of their events. I can see the same speakers for LESS if I do not go through CAAMP. Last CAAMP event I will support - ever - including the regional ones - when they say CAAMP is a cash grab, and little to no value... I never believed it before until I actually added up the numbers.

  • Bang for my Buck on 2011-11-25 7:42:27 PM

    Another expensive conference, lugging a bag of trinkets and trash home as my thanks. More effective lobbying of government on behalf of out industry, a greater investment in a consumer awareness you're talking!

  • BC Broker on 2011-11-29 11:52:49 AM

    I attended this years event and was very disappointed. The speakers were mediocre and had very little relevance to the mortgage industry. Day 2, being combined with the "Art of Sales", was nothing at all to do with the industry and was attended by anyone who could pay the admission. After attending for the last 4 years I will certainly not be going back. Regional events provide much better bang for the buck.

  • Rachelle Gregory-Marshall-Merix Financial on 2011-12-14 3:33:01 AM

    This is the 4th CAAMP conference I’ve attended and i really think this is the best one yet.
    To the BC Broker-I’m not sure whether you realize it or not, but you are a sales person, and you really should have gotten something out of Tuesday's session. Everyone else did, and I did talk to a number of Originators who found it to be refreshing, worthwhile and brought the information home to agents who weren't able to attend.
    While I won’t comment on the price of CAAMP, I will say i think it's worth another look for those who haven't thought of attending. This is such an important event for originators who are starting to build their business, i can't say enough about how important networking opportunities are. Besides that, getting to meet lenders, insurers and other vendors that can help you grow your business, beyond the ideas you come up with within the 4 walls of your office is really valuable.
    Next year’s conference is in BC, and with my market in the west, i hope those who couldn't attend this year due to financial reasons will take the time to attend Vancouver’s event.
    Remember people, the only way to distinguish yourself from the agents who are unprofessional and don’t care about this industry
    is to differentiate yourself by being a part of the national association. One of the first things i ask originators is whether they have their AMP. And i can tell you, from a lender perspective, that really distinguishes you from the rest.

  • Dave Butler on 2011-12-16 9:55:17 AM

    In my opinion the CAAMP conference appears to be getting worse year after year. One of the main reasons I go, to listen to Ben Tal from CIBC, and he wasnt even brought in this year. And what is with this obsession of bringing in speakers that have nothing to do with our industry? Sure, Terry Bradshaw was great for the luncheon as it was a breath of fresh air to hear some of his stories. But why cant CAAMP put some elite Mortgage Brokers or Agents on as speakers so they can share their thoughts on the industry, where it appears to be going, what they are seeing at the ground level. Certainly there can be some question and answer time and I believe that many people in attendance would learn some things from these top Brokers/Agents. From an education standpoint, most people in our industry would love to hear what the top guys are doing and how they do it. Tons of people in attendance could take great ideas away from that and ultimately make themselves better mortgage originators. Isnt that supposed to be a goal of CAAMP’s? Shouldnt CAAMP want us to become better at what we do so that we grow as an industry and get some more market share? We certainly are not going to do that by listening to some speaker tell stories about how they made it in the computer business 10 years ago. I want to hear from the people that are on the street, in this business every day and doing well. What better venue than at CAAMP to do this where it is comprised of tons of agents and brokers?

  • YoungVanBroker1 on 2011-12-17 6:53:50 AM

    Conferences as a whole are going the way of the dodo bird. They are expensive booze ups that were created by the baby boomer generateion as an excuse to go on a trip. Take a look around folks, industries and companies all over the world have been struggling to keep attendance at conferences at a level that make them worthwhile. If you look around the CAAMP conference there is one major common demoninator... age. Most of the brokers that attend are 40+ because those of us who are younger can seriously think of better ways to spend that money generating business. CAAMP is an archaic association that is trying to be more than it is. They tell me because I do not have my AMP I am not a professional, they tell me that they are IT, the only one that counts. The AMP is less than useless, just look at the poll here on CMP homepage - so far 85% say it is useless. Want to attract the younger generation? Make it affordable and make it have true value to my business - stop wasting valuable money on speakers that are irrelevant to our industry.

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