With almost three decades of experience as a mortgage broker, Ajay Soni is well-suited in his role as National President of the Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association, and one of his objectives is to elucidate the industry’s importance to the public.
The CMBA has undertaken a vigorous advertising campaign over the last four years that’s paid dividends. It started in B.C. with ads on Global, CBC, and Vancouver newspapers, the Sun and Province, as well as on social media. The CMBA’s provincial organizations in B.C., Ontario and Atlantic Canada also ramped up their advertising efforts and now the national organization’s logo is recognizable across the country, much like the logo realtors use.
“We’ve been able to do some bulk buying and we have the same commercials running across the country, so it doesn’t matter if you’re here in Vancouver or in Toronto,” said Soni, who’s also a senior broker with Invis. “The most important thing is that the public is seeing that this is a credible brand and that they should deal with our member brokers.”
It isn’t just the public that has taken notice, though. Soni says mortgage brokers are attaining more prominence in the worlds of business and politics.
“We also see it with government and regulators and we’re called to speak to a lot of different issues,” he said. “As an example, in February as CMBA national president, I attended Parliament Hill and spoke in front of the Standing Committee on Finance about the new mortgage rule changes.”
Although government has begun listening to mortgage industry insiders like Soni, he very much doubts its sincerity. He has repeatedly informed lawmakers that the rule changes are adversely affecting the very people they’re trying to help.
“Well-heeled individuals who can get financing aren’t being affected, but the very people that they’re trying to help are being affected,” Soni said of conversations with policymakers in Ottawa. “We have a submission paper in which we talked about government’s role in holding back supply, and there are other additional costs to developers that add to the costs on homes. How do home prices go up? It’s not just market forces, it’s multispectral. There’s lots of demand, there’s immigration, and then there’s lots of barriers to development, which restricts the supply of housing.”
While Soni doesn’t believe government is seriously listening to the industry’s concerns – “What we specifically said at Parliament Hill was, ‘ask us to consult before you’ve announced things because you’re wasting a lot of people’s time’ – he intends to continue lobbying on the industry’s behalf, as well as forging further down the path the CMBA has already laid out.
“We’re going to expand our membership to allow others to become members, and we expect to do more submissions to government and provide feedback to the mortgage rule changes going forward.”