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The Big Story: Is graduated licensing the answer?

Is there such a thing as too much education? When it comes to the training of new agents and brokers some think a two-year apprenticeship before being licensed would effectively raise the bar on qualifying standards. Not everyone is in agreement. Why are brokers asking for this change? Isn’t the system in place good enough and isn’t there already accountability? Some brokers however, feel that current training isn’t reflective of what it takes to do a proper mortgage and that more needs to be done if brokers want to be seen a professionals in the eyes of consumers. On today’s Big Story we spoke to Paul Therien, director of business development with Centum Financial Group, Ron De Silva, CEO of Real Mortgage Associates, Reed Harris, broker/owner with VERICO Manifest Mortgage Corp. and Kelvin Seepersad, mortgage agent with Mortgage Intelligence. Find out on today’s The Big Story, on MortgageBrokerNews.ca TV, your home for industry news, opinion and analysis.

Video transcript below:

John Tenpenny, Mortgage Brokers News TV
John Tenpenny:
 Hi, I’m John Tenpenny, Editor of CMP Magazine and welcome to the Big Story on Mortgage Broker News TV.

Is there such a thing as too much education?  When it comes to the training of new agents and brokers some think that the 2 year apprenticeship before being licensed effectively raise the bar on qualifying standards.  Not everyone is in agreement though.  Isn’t the system in place good enough?  Why are brokers asking for this change and isn’t there already accountability?

Paul Therein, Director of Business Development, Centum Financial Group
Paul Therein:
 Depends on why you want to have graduated licensing.  I think currently we have to understand that in Ontario and British Columbia there currently is a requirement you have to have your sub-broker’s, your agent’s license for 2 years before you are allowed to have your principal’s license.  Under those guidelines the principal broker is ultimately responsible for the business and the conduct of their agents or sub-brokers.  We have to look at, if  you are a principal broker today, you are responsible for the business and conduct and the regulatory adherence of your agents and your sub-brokers are performing or conducting.  If you’re not doing that and you’re not being held accountable for management of your business, are we asking for enhanced licensing requirements to mitigate that because we want to take away responsibility from ourselves or are we doing it because there is an actual necessity for it.

Ron De Silva, CEO, Real Mortgage Associates
Ron De Silva:
 Graduated licensing is a bad bad bad idea.  Our industry is going through a large compression in margins, we have got serious, we got senior agents looking for more and more compensation and so the margins are being compressed tremendously.  We bring a group of people in on board that are on your books for two years without really being productive and you have to support those people in the infrastructure.  What happens is only 20% of that group will even make it to third year and be a part of the industry on a long-term basis.  So once they get to that level they are now starting to look for more compensation so we are back into this downward spiral again.  Leave the system the way it is, it works, there is nothing wrong with it, one time licensing and we are done.

John Tenpenny:  So brokers however feel that current training isn’t reflective of what it takes to do a proper mortgage and that more needs to be done if brokers want to be seen as professionals in the eyes of consumers.

Reed Harris, Broker and Owner, VERICO Manifest Mortgage Corpn.
Reed Harris:
 Oh I think it’s a good idea to require new brokers to take a period of training like they are actually doing mortgages.  The training course to become licensed isn’t necessarily reflective of what it takes to do a proper mortgage for your client.  So you know similar to the way a lawyer might have to take a year of articling to learn the nitty gritty of the law before they can go into a court for example, it just ensures a level of professionalism that really will serve the client the best.  

Kelvin Seepersad, Agent, Mortgage Intelligence
Kelvin Seepersad:
 I think graduating license with a 2 year mandatory apprenticeship for new agents is a good thing.  Most industry have this high standard requirement.  If we in the broker industry want to have the same high standard I think it’s only beneficial to new agents to mentor or model themselves after established seasoned brokers.