A course focused on teaching industry basics to new mortgage brokers in Nova Scotia has more than doubled its enrollment as the province faces growing pressure to attach an educational component to its licensing standards.
“The way the legislation is now, someone wanting to be a broker only has to be able to fog a mirror and pay the licensing fee,” said James Shinners, the broker who developed Mortgage 101, a 35-hour in-class course offered at Maritime Business College in Halifax. “That’s expected to change, and I think the growing interest in our course speaks to the willingness of brokers to have an educational component attached to their licensing. Our course provides both practical training as well as theoretical and legislative information specifically about Nova Scotia, which they’ll need.”
Shinners, an AMP and owner of Mortgage Managers in the burgeoning HRM, rolled out the program last fall, working with college instructor Lara Kirkpatrick to flesh out its curriculum. While the course just won accreditation through the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, it hasn’t yet sought CAAMP’s sanctioning. That hasn’t slowed interest among new brokers, said Shinners pointing to early enrollment for the upcoming August term, which more than doubled last November’s participation in the one-week program.
“The goal is to educate newcomers to the mortgage brokerage world so that they can gain an understanding about the basics like pulling and reading a credit report, advising a client, preparing and packaging an application and working with underwriters,” Shinners told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “But, we’re also looking to prepare students for the unique challenges and opportunities associated with practicing in this jurisdiction. That’s something similar courses offered in Toronto and through CAAMP don’t do.”
CAAMP did, in fact, bring its own introductory class to Halifax last summer for the first time, although hasn’t yet announced plans to build on the initiative.
Mortgage 101 is hoping to fill that void, a way of helping professionalize a growing industry in Atlantic Canada. The increasing interest coincides with an uptick in housing activity – some markets seeing double-digit price increases following the start of the recession in 2008.
Increased demand for brokers has outstripped the legislative updates Shinners and other seasoned professionals are calling for as a way to bring broker licensing standards in line with those in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
“From the mortgage brokers’ perspective, the course allows them to sit down with the client armed with the requisite knowledge to gain their confidence,” said Shinners.