Not for individuals
As Greg Williamson correctly says: rate discounting is not a viable strategy for individual agents and brokers. Our organization has grown over the last 18 years to the point where we had the number of lender relationships at high-volume levels to allow us to tap best rate offers from a number of sources. We had 18 years of experience handling cold calls from other forms of advertising. We had 10 years to adapt to processing incoming leads from a website. That being said, we made massive changes to our systems to accommodate the rate site leads.
We downsized our commissioned agent group and hired salaried individuals who were licensed through FSCO. Those persons handled initial application input and Expert processing. We bought software to monitor internal deal progress and customized PDF docs to maximize electronic client interaction. We are constantly looking at ways to enhance the performance of the process. We don’t see how an individual working alone can live with the expenses, take on all the tasks and shoulder the workload the rate sites create.
We can’t say what the final outcome of all this will be but we believe rate comparison sites and advertised rates are not going to stop anytime soon. As time goes on I think the mortgage brokerage industry will continue to feel the effects of these trends.