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Mortgage Broker News | 11 Jul 2013, 12:01 AM Agree 0
There is more talk of loyalty and exclusivity agreements in the channel – but most mortgage brokers refuse to handcuff clients with a piece of legal paper, and doubt it will become common practice.
  • Paul Sidhu | 11 Jul 2013, 08:18 AM Agree 0
    I have all my clients sign a new client agreement with their mortgage application. It states that they can only change brokers/lenders if they obtain a better rate when comparing products as apples to apples. I still want my clients to have the best savings and have let a few go to the banks because they provided more savings but this also gives me the option to buy down the rate and keep the deal at the end if it makes sense. Realtors protect themselves and brokers should too. We are not in this business to be used as leverage once we have put in all the work.
  • Joe the Broker | 11 Jul 2013, 08:19 AM Agree 0
    Haha had to laugh... Jason Friesen, of Verico Friesen Mortgage Group. “With the client base I have in north Toronto, it is unnecessary.

    Sure when you're dealing with WASP's and [removed] north Toronto folks who just ask for cash from mommy and daddy lol. Like they care about bargaining on rates. It's not their money after all .

    P.S. You'll need an agreement if you get leads from rate sites , those are the worst clients of all time. Will ditch you in a second if someone else offers them the same rate and a free pack of twizzlers. Rate sites should be banned anyways, all they do is bring down commissions for all brokers.
  • Jason Friesen | 11 Jul 2013, 08:37 AM Agree 0
    Joe the Broker- why don't you use your own name instead of hiding behind a pseudonym and spewing off about WASPS and [removed]folks... Pretty offensive in my opinion.

    And why would you ever want to work with a client that only is working with you because they are contractually obligated to? Spend the time and energy and educate your clients and spend time nurturing the relationships your referral partners and weeding out the clients only care about rate. You will find that your service actually has a value to clients.... It is worth more than you think if you take the time and do more than just quote an interest rate and send people on their way.
  • Rick O'Brien | 11 Jul 2013, 08:44 AM Agree 0
    re: Joe the broker.
    It must be difficult for you to understand given your complete ignorance. No wonder they ditch you as easily as your tasteless remarks.
  • Paul Sidhu | 11 Jul 2013, 08:52 AM Agree 0
    I don't think we are here to bash other brokers guys. Just to clarify, I do this to ensure that my client is aware that I am committed to them and that they need to be committed to me. They wouldn't appreciate it if we just walked away from their deal in the middle of it. They need to understand that work goes into these files and that time is money. It's not to back anyone into a corner but more so that they understand our position. This also helps close the file as the credit report doesn't have numerous hits on it bringing them below the product guidelines. If they want to shop around, they can, but it gives me the option to still close the deal. I am more than willing to share my new client agreement with anyone that would like a copy. Protect ourselves but more so, let's protect our industry from cannibalism from the banks.
  • Catherine Fogarty/ | 11 Jul 2013, 09:04 AM Agree 0
    My practice has always been to ask the client directly if they already have a broker or if they have been to the bank. If they say "yes" I then ask them why they have come to me. When the answer is "I want to see what you can do for me" I then proceed to ask them if they like their current broker or banker. If the answer is "yes" then I tell them to stick with that person. My relationship with them ends there.
    If they are keen enough to jump around on their current mortgage professional then indeed they would do it to me. I also strongly believe there is enough business out there for all of us that we do not need to stab each other in the back and steal business. Apart from the bank reps who, unfortunately, have to do what they are told and aggressively steal business. We brokers have no control over that. We DO, however, have control over how we conduct ourselves and run our own businesses. Am I wrong?
  • North Toronto Resident | 11 Jul 2013, 09:05 AM Agree 0
    I was raised and still live in North Toronto. My parents bought their home for 70K in 1970. I come from a modest backgound and did not have any help buying my own home in North Toronto. I paid my way through University. Had nothing to my name. Landed a job entry level position and worked my but off to be successful. I purchased a home in a good neighbourhood for my children and I am disgusted by the generalization above. There was no silver spoon - I worked for it! Many of my neighbours share this same storey. I find Joe the broker's comments ignorant, presumptious, and extremely prejudice.
  • Chris H | 11 Jul 2013, 09:05 AM Agree 0
    What about legality here? I spoke with FICOM about charging such a fee in cases like this (which are rare for me...but occur more with internet apps than personal referrals etc) and was told (this was years ago) that we COULD NOT charge such a fee?
  • Jason Friesen | 11 Jul 2013, 09:24 AM Agree 0
    Paul- I don't think that anyone is trying to bash another broker but when "Joe the Broker" decides to make a horrible generalization about a neighbourhood or its occupants I have a problem with it. As I mentioned before, especially when he posts using a pseudonym.

    I am proud to live in work in North Toronto, it is a great neighbourhood but my comments were misinterpreted in the interview, I stated that in North Toronto I deal with a lot of highly educated and successful professionals across all fields of work. If I was to come to a meeting and ask them to sign an exclusivity agreement with me they would rip it up. On the other hand, these people also appreciate the service and advice and appreciate what value I bring to them and they want a low rate but do not want to give up the service I provide to save .05 over a term. I rarely lose a deal to a bank but if I do I would never hold a client to having to pay me for the work I did. As Catherine said, vet out your clients up front so that you don't get into a situation where you are being used as a pawn. On top of having a solid understanding of mortgage details you should have the basic sales skills to ask the questions and dig to find out what the client's intentions are and "feel them out".

    I see the argument on both sides of this, I just personally do not think that it is something that has a place in this industry.
  • Paul Sidhu | 11 Jul 2013, 09:36 AM Agree 0
    Jason - The great thing about this industry is that everyone can work their own way. No one way is better than another as long as it works and you are successful. I've got to agree with you that the comments were definitely without merit. We have a very streamlined process that works well for us and our clients feel no way about signing a document committing them to us. We go through it in detail to let them know that they are not bound to us if they can find savings elsewhere as long as the product is the same. You can vet a client to the bones but that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't go elsewhere when they get a better offer. This is just the way our industry is. Since we have started using the new client agreement, our fall off rate dropped significantly.

    Chris - you cannot do this for anything under $300K but you can for anything over

    Catherine - your thought process is correct, we do the same thing. If another company shows up on the credit bureau, we ask what happened with that company and why the client did not fund through them. We have even called other brokers to let them know that their client is shopping and given them the option to match the rate we are providing before going through the work on the file. By doing so, you create a transparancy for the client which brings up their comfort level. These clients always come back to me and always refer people to our brokerage. Honesty sells clients for life. That is our policy, we want clients for life. This should not be a transactional business. If yours is, you will not be in this game for long.
  • Chris H | 11 Jul 2013, 09:37 AM Agree 0
    Also agree with all those who say to sell yourself and your value up front...I have been doing this 24 years...rarely loose a client, even when someone comes with a lower rate...service, knowledge, and honesty win clients, keep clients, and the only time I have considered wanting to charge a fee was when the client really played me, I misread them, my fault...move on, get over it..cant win them all, and maybe should look at what you are doing wrong if you continually lose clients to another broker or lender...Oh, hold it...a lot of my clients come from other lenders and brokers...not because of rate, but because of the crappy service & lack of knowledge the other broker/lender provided....
  • George Christopoulos | 11 Jul 2013, 09:48 AM Agree 0
    When you actively seek a no loyalty based client and sell yourself strictly on price , what do you expect. I hope True North has to chase all their clients for cancellation fees
  • walid Hammami | 11 Jul 2013, 09:50 AM Agree 0
    I was a bit embarrassed in the beginning too and was always scratching the word exclusivity and everything related to fees. Until it clicked in my head. After a few months I realized that some rate shoppers would abuse my time by making me meet them at night and spend an hour or two with them with free advise. After a lot of back and fourth for documentation, emails phone calls, they inform me that it's okay and they found a good deal with their branch and they really want to stay with them. I worked late, I negociated hard, I spent money on gas and credit bureau, I took their interest at heart and even went some extra miles with lenders to ask for exceptions, I also neglected my family and put most of the house and children workload on my wife's shoulders. No more, if a client asks me why we have this clause, I will tell him it's the "Respect clause", I work on commission only and I have a family to take care of like him, I can't afford to work for free, there needs to be some compensation at the end. If they ask me there are risks that I have to accept then I will say yes and am already taking it because he might not get accepted and am not charging him if he does not.
    In our industry, in these cut throat times we really need to screen our clients otherwise we will be dealing with the wrong people most of the time. If you have a returning client you really don't need an exclusivity contract he is sold to you but for someone you don't know you'd better make it clear that you are going to be working for him with conditions like all the contracts that he signs in his life. We want a Broker-customer relationship not Master-slave one.
    *****Food for thought folks******
  • Lior, Mortgage Edge | 11 Jul 2013, 11:14 AM Agree 0
    I have been using this document since I started in the business (the peak of the financial crisis basically) and never heard anyone complain.

    I attach it to every commitment, including repeat clients, and no one expressed any concern. If anything, they perfectly understand why I was making them sign it.

    It is all about communication and how you present it. It works for me so I'll continue using it. Other brokers may be more hesitant and that's fine, do what works for you.
  • Lior, Mortgage Edge | 11 Jul 2013, 11:34 AM Agree 0
    Just a quick add-on to what I said, with the ultra low interest rate environment and thin margins on mortgages, I believe that lenders are looking more favourably to the European banking model and charging all people an application fee.

    The bottom line is mortgages are expensive to originate, administer, and underwrite. Lenders, be it the major banks or smaller non-bank institutions, can't afford to have customers mess around with them for 5 lousy basis points. Slap a $1,500 processing fee even on triple-A business like they do in Europe and make it non-negotiable. This is one area where all lenders need to come together and realize it's for the benefit of their own interests. It will eliminate a lot of commitments that are issued to borrowers who have no intention of proceeding with it.
  • Mark Brennan | 11 Jul 2013, 06:55 PM Agree 0
    I know I am not the only one waiting for the day for True North to actually pursue clients on their back end contract, and see how ugly the backlash will be. I doubt it can and would be enforced when the negative publicity comes their way
  • Robert Stanfield, INVIS | 11 Jul 2013, 07:28 PM Agree 0
    No one has made reference to the following situation.

    So you get a client referred to you by a referral source (client or business relations), you meet with the client and the client decides to go elsewhere for whatever reason. What does your referral source think of you chasing a client legally for a fee because you were unable to meet the clients expectations, whether on rate or service?

    I am pretty sure that referral source will NEVER send you another client.

    Also, had an interesting conversation with a lawyer at lunch today.
    be careful how far you chase the client and especially if you tarnish their credit rating because you send it to a collection, these contracts are not worth the paper they are written one because the mortgage never funded. In the end the client chose another broker or lender to deal with.

    if you get all your business from rate sites or just internet referrals, they are low quality referrals and there is no loyalty.

    As I have always aid on this subject, if you are losing clients and you need this agreement, it isn't the client, it is YOU. So look at yourself and adjust your business process.

    I don't buy down rates and I have a 94% closing ratio once I receive an application. I have never used a client contract to keep my clients. My business has also become above 70% client referral. I deal with only 7 realtors.

    Oh, and yes, I am a volume broker.

  • walid Hammami | 11 Jul 2013, 08:22 PM Agree 0
    Ok, let's look at it in a different way.
    When you request a quote it is free and there is no contract signed. So far so good.
    Now after the quote you make a decision and go ahead then what happens? Yep you guessed right, you sign a contract and probably you put a down pmt.
    If it is, say reparing a car. The garage will order the faulty piece (after looking in different places) places the order and waits for it to arrive. Meanwhile your car is probably sitting in the garage's parking lot taking some space.

    The garage chose to service you instead of another client and the garage has limited ressources and space. Then at the last minute after the garage receives the piece schedules a mechanic for the task and actually the mechanics starts unpacking the newly arrived gear you tell him that it's ok you found somebody else that can do it for 20$ less. You take your car and leave. The garage trusted you, started working and was going to fix the problem you.
    What should the garage do:

    1-Ask for the payment for the time spent on service and the new order
    2-Smiles at you and thank you for the opportunity and the honor of serving him (and eat the loss)
    3-Lower your price to match the rate of someone else who might not be able to do the job properly and is willing to lower the price for that.

    We really underestimate our service . If the client is not faithful why would you not charge him? You worked hard to get him the deal and he left you like you were just a dead piece of meat.

    If the unfaithful client was referred by a referral source, then the referral source should understand that respect goes both ways. And shoud not blame you for that. He will probably start advising all his guys that you are a professional and you don't come cheap.
  • Robert Stanfield, INVIS | 11 Jul 2013, 10:41 PM Agree 0
    @ Walid,

    Good comparison, but I disagree with the comparison.
    1) a garage has hard cash out of their pocket to pay for the parts that are needed to fix the car.

    So, here is my comparison:
    If you go to look at a car to purchase, take a test drive, use up an hour or so with the sales rep to learn about the car, and then spend some time talking price with him, but in the end you are going to go look at the same car at some other dealerships, are you prepared to pay out of your pocket the salespersons lost income since you didn't buy the car from him???

    I doubt you are willing to do that, so why should you be asking someone else to do it?
    Is your time more valuable than the auto salesperson??

    Is your time more valuable than the furniture salesperson at Leon's?

    Basically, what you are saying is that as soon as someone spends time and puts in an effort with someone, then that client owes the person money.

    I am sorry, but in my personal opinion, I disagree with these contracts and I have never needed one as clients do not leave me once I take an application.
    But then again, I do none of my business online and every client is met physically and we have a consultation meeting and I earn their business. I meet my clients expectations and they have no need to leave and go elsewhere.
    I do business in Ottawa and it is a very broker competitive city.

    Maybe everyone commenting on here does the same thing and they still lose clients, if that is the case, you need to look at your process.
  • Barb | 12 Jul 2013, 05:07 AM Agree 0
    Occasionally working for free is a fact of life in any commissioned role. If you're looking for a guaranteed income, any bank branch will be happy to offer you a small salary.
  • walid Hammami | 12 Jul 2013, 05:22 AM Agree 0

    If you lke part time free, you can still do benevolent work in a charity group. There probably plenty arounnd you. I can hook you up, let me know.
  • walid Hammami | 12 Jul 2013, 05:38 AM Agree 0
    @Robert Stanfield, INVIS,

    For your car compairison to be closer to reality you need to add that you ordered the car, it came in with the options you ordered, then you bailed out because another dealership offered you a 100$ less. That's our situation here not the one you described.

    Garages have hard cash, and where exactly you think it came from? From hard work and having clients pay for it.

    There is absolutely no reason not to have someone get paid for work done, unless it is a slave.

    This exclusivity contract will have you flush all the posers.

    The time spent helping that client is lost forever, you could have helped another one and made your living. But you opted for him and because you didn't protect yourself you lost on potentially good client.

    There is no shame in explaining from the beginning the whole situation to the client.
  • Joe the Broker | 12 Jul 2013, 05:59 AM Agree 0
    True North and most Dominion franchises have no value at all. Their genius plan is all about buying down the rates to nothing , posting them on rate sites and making 30-40 bps per deal . Now they realize how many leads are costing them money because the clients run to the next broker for a free pack of gum or go back to their bank and beg for a rate match. Gotta agree with Stanfield, chasing them for money after they walk will be a tough task.

    Hey Friesen, no offence meant to you but when you puff up your feathers and say how great your business is in "North Toronto" it doesn't impress anyone. Try doing business outside of there, with many different ethnic backgrounds in all areas of the GTA and let's see how many of your clients stay with your firm ;) The world is a lot different outside "North Toronto" .
  • Robert Stanfield, INVIS | 12 Jul 2013, 06:10 AM Agree 0
    @ Walid,

    We can go back and forth for ever, so we agree to disagree.

    I am all for legislation not permitting these agreements as they keep brokers honest and make them deliver the best product and service they can.
    If not, the client walks and goes to another broker.

    If these agreements were in place, there are numerous brokers that would get complacent and be happy to make most of their income from chasing people for these fee's because the client never stayed with them.

    I have a friend who walked on a ordered car because what she ordered wasn't what got delivered. Dealer tried to make her wait for another car to be ordered (4 mths), she refused to wait as another dealer had the car.
    lawyers got involved and it was over in 3 days, never saw the inside of a court.

    As I said earlier, just like most people know, these type of contracts are not worth the paper they are written on as soon as lawyers get involved, your lawyer will tell you let the client walk away.
    Just like a realtor can't enforce their contracts either.
    They are just scare tactics for people that are unaware of the legalities of these contracts.

    In the end, my final comment, does a broker want to be known in the industry as the guy that chases clients for fee's on undelivered services?
    he/she won't be around long.
    I hope there is a broker like that in my area, easy business for me to pick up.

    I also think they rehashed this story from a few weeks ago to get everyone all fired up again.
  • North Toronto Resident | 13 Jul 2013, 08:07 AM Agree 0
    I think what was meant by the reference to North Toronto is that they are more apt to go to their local branch. I know the mentality where many are apprehensive of the broker option as I live in the community and also work for a broker lender. Many here in the area are prone to go to their bank as they think they are the most credible. It's not about a demographic or affluence, it's a mentality that is hard to win over. I am sure there are many other pockets that are the same Joe but being born and raised here I know the way my parents think and their neighbours. Many think only the banks are looking out for their best interests. Even as their daughter working in the broker industry, my parents are still are apprehensive of the broker option. Grrr. What can I say it's a stubborn community - LOL.
  • Bill Nugent | 15 Jul 2013, 07:18 AM Agree 0
    Joe the broker I am embarrassed that you call yourself a broker. To write on this site they should make it mandatory that you use your name for the public can see what type of mortgage representative they are dealing with along with lenders that might want to distance themselves from some of you no name people.

    I have no been in this business for 20 years and we do not use contracts that bind the client for A business or private deals. It is my responsibility as a mortgage professional to put the best possible package on the table for the client. It is there responsibility to make sure it is the proper deal. You know when you are looking at internet leads they are shoppers so trying to make them sign contracts is little bit foolish in my mind as you know they are going to shop till they close.
  • Leigh Graham | 15 Jul 2013, 12:43 PM Agree 0
    The single largest challenge with this discussion is the fact that so much of it is taken from an adversarial tone. Look back through this stuff and see how many of these comments are simply derogatory towards other brokers! This industry can't be expected to get its proverbial *stuff* together if we cannot even have a productive conversation without resorting to negative comments about each other's respective talent, performance level, or service region.

    My thoughts on this topic were outlined last month on the last article. To each their own, essentially. But asking our national association to be involved, or expecting that the industry will accept this will require a massive industry shift. The shift must then be embraced by its agents, lenders, and particularly our clients. People expect to pay lawyers - they don't expect to pay mortgage originators. To get people to accept this requires unity & communication - 2 things so obviously lacking in this business, as evident from this commentary.

    Wake up, people. Losing business sucks. Losing money sucks even worse. But the greatest loss of human ingenuity is spent trying to prevent situations that might never actually take place. This isn't famine or flood prevention - we're talking providing an optional service for first-world citizens, and one that provides a damn good living for the type of labour invested.

    Instead of complaining and trying to prevent worst-case scenarios, focus on the things we do well, and the business comes naturally. The time & energy spent on this column alone could have been another deal today. Move on, people.
  • Christa C | 15 Jul 2013, 05:50 PM Agree 0
    Wow the comments on this site amaze me. Did a broker put a document like that in front of me I would thank him for his time and show him to the door. I don't know you. I've never worked with you; why should you expect that I trust you? I most sincerely hope that the broker I have chosen to work with finds me a great deal and we will end our association with a signed mortgage agreement and good feelings on both sides. That said if he does not find me a deal I am happy with then of course I will keep looking.
  • Christa C | 15 Jul 2013, 05:50 PM Agree 0
    Wow the comments on this site amaze me. Did a broker put a document like that in front of me I would thank him for his time and show him to the door. I don't know you. I've never worked with you; why should you expect that I trust you? I most sincerely hope that the broker I have chosen to work with finds me a great deal and we will end our association with a signed mortgage agreement and good feelings on both sides. That said if he does not find me a deal I am happy with then of course I will keep looking.
  • Jason Friesen | 18 Jul 2013, 07:03 AM Agree 0
    Lots of great points made on both sides here. I am obviously on the side that does not believe this is the way to go but I do see the other sides of the argument and do not dismiss them. Each mortgage broker/agent has a different model that works for them and that is fantastic, it is what makes industry so dynamic.

    To Joe the Broker- only my friends call me "Friesen" so please show some respect... You clearly have made some comments earlier that to me are off side, insulting and flatly racist. You have no clue how hard I work for the business that I get and how much time, energy and value I spend building solid relationships with realtors in this area- so I don't think it is "puffing my feathers" more like "working as hard as I possibly can to add as much value to the realtor partners I have so that they send me business"

    When these forums turn into un-named individuals name calling it does absolutely no good for anyone involved and as an outsider reading this I would be turned off to the broker industry as a whole.
  • Paul Therien - CENTUM | 18 Jul 2013, 09:45 AM Agree 0
    As someone who advises a national network I found this article and the resulting comments interesting. There seems to be little middle ground from what I have read, the some of the more hostile comments I do not believe represent the majority of the mortgage broker industry in Canada.

    At the end of the day the primary focus, I believe, of any mortgage broker should be to provide the consumer with the best possible service. Profit should never be a goal. Profit is a result of working hard to achieve our goals. In any business we all look to bottom line as a measure of our success, and we tweak our models and activities to increase that bottom line, but I have never seen a successful business who’s goal is to “make lots of money”.

    To outright ban exclusivity agreements is not, in my opinion, the answer - in some situations these agreements may have value, and they may indeed even be necessary. Take for example an extremely complex commercial deal that requires a significantly higher amount of work as one example. There may very well be justification to discuss with the customer signing such an agreement before taking on the challenge. Ultimately it is up to the consumer to read the document and agree to the terms - If they choose to accept the terms they do so of their own free will. The customer always has the option of taking the document to a lawyer, or refusing to sign.

    As for the agreement being enforceable, it is – provided the terms and conditions are legally sound. There have been several cases where the courts have awarded the broker judgment – and some cases where the broker lost. It all depends on the situation. All of that being said, it is up to each broker to determine what is best for their own business - for some these agreements makes sense, and for others it is not. Whether another mortgage broker agrees with that decision or not is irrelevant – I am quite certain that there are things we all do which other people do not agree.

    Posting comments on a very public forum, such as some that have been posted on here, are going to do far more damage to brokers reputations than getting the customer to sign a service agreement.
  • C. Smyth | 18 Jul 2013, 09:55 AM Agree 0
    As per usual Paul from Centum comes out sounding ever the diplomat and statesman. I wonder if he takes something special to always seem so level headed! I missed his comments, nice to see him back.
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