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Mortgage Broker News | 09 Jun 2010, 03:44 PM Agree 0
The federal privacy commissioner’s report on unsecure mortgage broker practices for protecting client information has further exposed the industry to potential fraud crimes. “If I was a professional criminal, a mortgage broker would be my main target,” said Greg Viger, accredited mortgage professional with Dominion Lending Centres Financial Ltd. in Burnaby, B.C.
  • Steve Garganis | 10 Jun 2010, 07:13 AM Agree 0
    “If I was a professional criminal, a mortgage broker would be my main target,”
  • Steve Garganis | 10 Jun 2010, 08:34 AM Agree 0
    “If I was a professional criminal, a mortgage broker would be my main target,” Greg Viger.... Greg, this kind of comment is 'Bad Press' and will hurt confidences and our business....I think you're comment is way out of line....The report identified some issues and made recommendations...and since the review, Ontario Brokers are now working with an updated set of regulations administered by FSCO... and also tighter Equifax member standards....These changes are welcome by me and all reputable Mortgage Brokers... Let's go back in time...remember 2008...wasn't there a Big Bank that had a company laptop stolen with client mortgage information? And this year, didn't BMO bring massive fraud charges against it's own employees and many others? Doesn't that question the Banking industry's reputation? Maybe we should say 'If I was a professional criminal, a Bank would be my main target'? Silly, isn't it...? I have a question for Greg Viger a full time Mortgage Agent or a Full time Real Estate Agent? I see his office address is home to both.
  • Greg | 10 Jun 2010, 09:13 AM Agree 0
    What careless speak from supposedly "professional" Look I am all for speaking whats on your mind but it seem like fearmongering to get attention is a bit much.

    There are enough changes going on in the industry that allows for better security for our clients data. Its not the brokers and agents who can't protect client files have you noticed that its the banks who are having security issues.

    Since the advent of the computer security has been a top priority for all concerned. All computer users by now know about thier computer security and so does brokers and agents so stop bringing so much attention to your self by fear mongering Greg Viger

  • Karen A. Boies | 10 Jun 2010, 09:31 AM Agree 0
    I have to agree with the others that commented on this article, security breaches happen everywhere, Big Banks, The White House, BC Legislature. As a mortgage professional it stay up to date with the privacy rules and take all appropriate steps to protect the privacy of the my clients information. Our office has gone paperless in an effort to protect our clients confidential information. I am sure the majority of professionals do their best to avoid an embarrassing situation and violation of privacy rules.
  • Christopher | 10 Jun 2010, 11:45 PM Agree 0
    I don't keep any files on my laptop. There are USB hard drives and flash drives that can be better encrypted and are also good for back up, if you have several.
  • Greg Viger | 11 Jun 2010, 03:03 AM Agree 0
    First, this was a call to comment. I don't have control of which comments are used and was asked for my opinion. I also didn't expect to be the only one quoted.
  • Greg Viger | 11 Jun 2010, 03:03 AM Agree 0
  • Kevin | 11 Jun 2010, 03:36 AM Agree 0
    Dont neccessarily agree with everything David says about keeping funded files. I have had Rev can wanting to see an old file that was done under an equity/stated program & had to walk thru the process how we obtained the financing for the borrower. I think we definitely need to responsibly maintain files on funded transactions for many reasons. Set a standard & then penalize those that dont meet minimum Industry standards. RECA in Alberta requires that if a deal was approved but crashed & didnt fund that we are required to maintain that file for 3 years! And that's on a file not even funded.
    Different note, RECA sends out a news letter & it touched on its response to the big BMO Fraud & how it works to ensure that industry members be aware of these potential situations. Ironically, they stated one of the flags for fraud is if the mortgage broker was also the realtor or someone who plays a multi role in the transaction. Yet, they issue mortgage agent licences to licensed realtors!
    Realestate Brokers/owners are grandfathered & are able to get Mortgage Broker Licences with ease. Then they recruit agents to run & service their realtors so they can kick back incentives to the realtors that use the inhouse agent.
    Some things just gotta change, until then, greed breeds fraud.
    Finally, maybe I'm wrong, but isnt Jennifer Stoddart the one pressing the Canadian Realestate Industry to open up the MLS that they have developed & invested all these years to Joe public because it is an unfair playing field. Then we have lenders giving us way tougher requirements for private sales because the increased fraud potential is higher on private sales. Whats next?
  • Greg Viger | 11 Jun 2010, 03:47 AM Agree 0
    Sorry, hitting return submits the page in Firefox.

    Second, my comments are aimed to bring attention of the seriousness of issue to the industry, not outsiders. In hindsight and seeing this as a web posting vs a print article, this might give some bad guys an idea. However the dozen articles on the topic in major papers is already giving them ideas. The identity theft pros look for the easy way and they now have a bunch of new ideas.

    What has happened with respect to press on the topic has always been my concern and issue. While physical file management is one major issue it is electronic information management that is my real concern. Mainly because it is very difficult to detect when your data has been compromised. I have 15 years of IT experience for large organizations and it is from that experience I see how we should be operating our businesses vs how they are operated in many cases. I have a good understanding of how easy it can be for someone to gain access to a lot of confidential information with little detection. Most brokers don't realize it. The purpose of my comments is to build awareness of areas brokers should be concerned.

    I agree 100% that other industries are just as at risk and that we have been singled out. But it is the singling out that has created the issue for all of us and consumer confidence in us. Combine this bad press with the negative image established by brokers taking blame for a lot of the US's problems as well as the BMO case where brokers are listed as defendants.

    I also made the comments (which were not quoted) that the major issue the report identified have been largely corrected. As another comment referenced, Alberta has thorough licensing practices as does BC and now Ontario. Many other provinces also do or are in the process of putting in place these changes. Equifax has also improved their requirements for gaining access to CBs. I feel the report is punishing the industry for errors of years ago without a lot of reference to the fact that changes have already been made. Clearly there is more that should be done.

    We can't do anything about what is out there now. We can only do damage control and improve our practices. The major challenge we all face is that it only takes one broker to screw up and get bad press to further degrade consumer confidence in all our businesses. This is now at risk of becoming the topic of the day. Where it didn't catch press in the past, even small breaches may not be turned into major articles. That is where my concern and frustration is.

    The above is about best practices. There is the aspect of compliance that is also of issue. This report will likely increase the burdens on broker owners related to privacy legislation and I see a huge opportunity for CAAMP to provide resources that make it more efficient for all brokers and agents to comply with what will likely be a greater level of scrutiny of compliance to federal and provincial privacy legislation. We all have the same requirements to comply. A partnered approach to preparing information handling policies and procedures that address our responsibilities as defined by our business and legislation and possibly even a Privacy Officer from a national level is worth considering to gain economies of scale.

    For the record I am a full time mortgage broker and have been for 5 years (licensed 6 years). I do hold a real estate license for some web based real estate systems I continue to operate part-time. I do not practice real estate. I am just as serious and fully committed to the mortgage broker industry as anyone else that has taken the time to comment here.

  • Greg | 11 Jun 2010, 10:36 AM Agree 0

    Prepare a part of your hard drive for encryption and store your data there. You can mount it when you need it and dismount it when you don't need it.

    You may also bring your pc offline for more security when you are mounting your drive for use. Although it may not be accessed by outsiders when in use. See the website for more information.

  • JOhn | 03 Sep 2010, 05:17 AM Agree 0
    I agree wholly with Greg's comments. I actually had a call from a potential client and after the cursory questions (rates, etc.) she asked what security I had to protect her files. I responded: motion detectors alarmed to my house and the police; locked and barred filing cabinets in a room that is locked with no window access, still covered by the motion detector; no information on laptops, we will not do house calls for this reason. Desktop computers secured by a bios password (seven key strokes) and a sign on password (10 key strokes. Strong firewall monitored by my computer geeks. I got her business. I push security big time here.
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