Inexperienced part-timers and newcomers to the industry should undergo a two-year apprenticeship before being eligible for licensing as agents, said a respected veteran broker.
“Allow part-timers and new agents, with no experience who wish to develop into full time agents, but do not allow them to be licensed,” Brian Matthey, head of Verico The Mortgage Professionals in Kingston, Ont., told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Have a minimum two-year supervisory period during which they have to work for a licensed broker who has a minimum of five years’ experience. That broker (would then) have to sign off on everything they do and assume responsibility.
“Even someone with five years’ experience is far from a seasoned broker, but at that point, they should, with the benefit of their experience, be in a position to assist someone in their development.”
The suggestion would effectively raise the bar on qualifying standards for mortgage agents in all regulated provinces. Currently, agent-candidates have only to pass a licensing exam and be employed by a brokerage. Matthey joins the growing number of industry professionals arguing the threshold is simply too easy for candidates to cross.
In addition to that two-year apprenticeship program, Matthey, whose firm won the CMP award for Mortgage Brokerage of the Year (more than 25 employees), wants to introduce a probationary period.
“At the end of the two years give them a one-year probationary license still under the supervision of a broker,” he said. “During the probationary period mandate a required education curriculum … and mandate a proficiency report, which must be submitted to the whatever provincial regulating body or provincial association, that outlines and identifies their readiness to assume the title of a mortgage agent.”
Matthey is among the first to offer a comprehensive plan to overhaul the licensing protocol for an industry grappling to improve its profile and expand its market share. Part of that challenge, say brokers, is increasing professional standards and further distancing themselves from the growing number of bank mobile mortgage specialists.
More and more mortgage professionals are, in fact, calling for better defined rules around part-time brokering, concerned the practice has undermined the industry. Matthey’s plan addresses that as well.
“As far as part-time agents or new agents who have previous financing experience, give them a one-year probationary licence under the supervision of a broker and follow the same mandate as above,” he said, adding his brokerage has successfully used a similar protocol.
“We use the essence of this program in our office with new completely inexperienced agents who work for an agent as an underwriter for two years,” Matthey said. “We have graduated four successful agents who were prepared to carry our card and represent themselves as mortgage professionals. We have spent 22 years developing a name and a reputation. Why would we settle for putting anybody on the street who would jeopardize that? Why would we not try to give an agent the best chance at success?”