“We’ve seen this before in 2006, 2007 when we had stellar years, and then 2008 happened,” says Michael Cameron
, president and CEO of Axiom Mortgage Solutions. “It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it may get rid of some of the less-efficient brokers. We’ve got a pretty small market share right now, so even if the pie shrinks, we’ve still got a pretty good opportunity as an industry to take a larger piece of the pie.”
Record-low oil prices have hit Albertans hard, and that has translated into an increase in homeowners looking to acquire more liquidity.
For brokers in the province, it has meant that they have had to roll up their sleeves to find clients in a very competitive market.
“We’re definitely seeing a lot more refinancing here in Alberta,” says Cameron. “The brokers who are established, they are working their databases; they are still alright. You just have to work a little harder and make a few more phone calls, and (contact) a few more people to get the same amount of business.”
And while Cameron has seen some layoffs in the province’s job sector, and the trickle-down effect it has had on the housing market, it hasn’t translated into a heavy downturn in his business.
“The reality is: you can’t do anything about the market,” says Cameron. “I tend not to pay a ton of attention (to the daily rise and fall of the market); we’ve got our strategies and business plans, so that doesn’t really change a whole lot.”
Oil prices are down, and Alberta is feeling the economic pinch – but one industry CEO sees it as another market cycle that will make the mortgage channel stronger.