This start-up may be the successor to rate sites

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A start-up is aiming to "shift mortgage market share" by incentivizing agents to refer mortgages through its new platform, Refery.

“Refery is aiming to partner with the more than 100,000 real estate professionals across Canada, as well as bank employed mortgage specialists,” founder, CEO and mortgage professional Christopher MacNeil, said in a release. “As a national referral agency, real estate professionals will be paid in commission fees and through an industry-leading rewards program powered by SVS Marketing every time they make a successful referral through the program.”

Refery (pronounced re-furry), a web-based platform, allows agents to connect directly with mortgage specialists who can then arrange a mortgage through their own institutions or the mortgage channel.
“The secondary component is that mobile mortgage specialists … that find themselves not getting the deal done, they have an opportunity to shuffle that client into the broker channel and recoup some of their costs,” MacNeil told

Refery claims the program is an opportunity to increase market share for the broker industry through its referral program.

“This is an opportunity to up-end the market balance and increase the visibility and viability of the broker industry,” MacNeil said. “Banks have been using realtors as "mortgage brokers" for years, minus the mortgage broker compensation. We found one reputable program that offered the equivalent of about $200 in product, for a $500,000 referral. It's unimaginable, given that the bank stands to make $60,000+ in interest over a five year term".

MacNeil said the platform has drawn comparisons to rate sites.

“We’re going to lean very heavily on affiliating with mortgage professionals,” he said. “We’re trying to carve out a little more market share for the broker industry. It’s an opportunity to get out of the rate site game.”

Many agents already have referral relationships with brokers. And while many of those partnerships may be disrupted by Refery – as agents choose to send referrals through the platform in the hopes of earning compensation – MacNeil argues many may not be impacted.

“You’re going to have real estate professionals who will be loyal to the relationships they’ve built with brokers through the years. You also have new agents who don’t have those relationships in place,” he said. “The older generation of realtors, maybe not so much.”
  • George Christopoulos on 2016-07-06 10:49:10 AM

    Nothing new here, this has been going on for years.
    How about the privacy issue with bank reps?
    They have dedicated channels for that.
    Many work outside that channel protocol but if caught they are quickly terminated.

  • Dave on 2016-07-06 12:11:32 PM

    Very simplified example:
    $200,000 mortgage at 110 basis points equals $2200 to the Brokerage. with an 80/20 split that puts 1760 to the agent. Take away 55% of 2200 leaves $550 for the mortgage agent. which may work if they are AAA mortgages and your getting enough of them. But... as a broker, to see the REALTOR® get $1210 when I'm only getting $550 for my work. Not a chance it hell (far softer language than I really feel).
    Here's an idea...
    Go out, meet people, tell them what you do and ask for their business and/or referrals. Collect all of your commission.  
    I could be completely wrong but this doesn't seem like it will go far as a biz. Not with those numbers anyway.

  • Good luck with that on 2016-07-06 3:40:00 PM

    These guys way overestimate their marketing ability. They have done nothing more then reinvent the wheel and their wheel is square. As far as I can tell they have no margins, no compelling value prop to referral sources, no SEO and no better rates than anyone else. The "best of the best" brokers who are teaming up with them must have no business of their own.

  • George on 2016-07-06 5:43:10 PM

    $200??? National bank gives realtors 50bps as a referral just for a name and phone number. This amounts to $2500 in referral fees to the realtor. Now if I am a realtor, which do you think I would take?

  • Michael on 2016-07-07 10:55:56 AM

    I think you misread, George. The $200 that was mentioned was regarding another "reputable program". These guys are offering 55%. As a realtor in the GTA and as someone who manages a team of realtors, I can honestly say that something like this, if done well, will definitely get traction. Most of our clients are applying for $500K+ mortgages. That would be a nice chunk for us.

  • Michael on 2016-07-07 10:58:47 AM

    I think you misread, George. The $200 mentioned, was regarding another "reputable program". These guys are offering 55%. As a realtor in the GTA, and one who over sees a team of realtors, I can honestly say that if done well, this will get traction. A good majority of our clients are applying for financing in the $500K+ range. Thats a good chunk for us realtors.

  • Sean Binkley on 2016-07-08 11:45:07 AM

    Why does no one reverse the situation. How about Mortgage Brokers start getting paid 25% of referral commission for realtor referrals. $300k purchase price at 1 end = $6,000 total commission = $1,500 to referring Broker (or better yet, how do Realtors feel about paying me 1/2 their commission) Oh, not the same you say.... hmmmm. Personally, I'll just stick to reciprocal referrals to people that trust I'll get the job done. Good luck with another referral website. I'm sure they will be as loved as NAS and Solidify appraisal referral sites ;)

  • Paul Mangion on 2016-07-12 10:22:14 AM

    Another race to the bottom idea. The fact that the realtors are already making a large commission and then putting there hands in our pockets won't go well with any successful agents. The mortgage agents that would except these terms are probably low producers. Remember not all deals are triple AAA and the realtors do need good mortgage agents. The successful realtors build relationships while the poor realtors grab money and never really succeed in getting referrals from past clients. When realtors refer for money most people can sniff them out and won't do business with them again. Cheers

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