Centum: Broker workshop to focus on consumer debt

Centum: Broker workshop to focus on consumer debt

Runaway consumer debt: It’s not just the federal government’s concern, but also the focus of a mortgage workshop for brokers – set for Vancouver this fall and focused on ensuring brokers extend their utility beyond the transaction, say sponsors.

 “Brokers have an obligation to their client to give them more than just quick-hit mortgage transactions,” Paul Therien, director of business development at Centum Financial Group, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “As an industry, we have promoted ourselves as expert advisors, a position banks and credit unions, on the lending side, haven’t been able to claim. But to be a true advisor, you need to advise clients in the long-term, and with consumer debt as extremely high as it is, our hope is that brokers will attend the event and learn how to become that effective partner for clients beyond the transaction.”

Tied in with the InvestorForum -- hosted by Canadian Real Estate Magazine and set for November 12-13 -- the 2011 CMP Mortgage Broker Workshop for Vancouver will bring together hundreds of Western brokers ready to take in Therien’s message. The actual messengers cut a wide swathe through the broker channel industry, from alternative lenders and industry trainers to debt advisory firm 4 Pillars – now working with Centum as a referral partner. All are asking brokers to deepen their utility for clients whose dream of homeownership is challenged by debt, if not always blemished credit.

Canadians are, in fact, carrying an average of $13,058 in personal debt, excluding mortgages, and less than a third think they're managing it well, according to a new consumer confidence report from RBC, released Wednesday. That's down from the 38 per cent who felt the same way last quarter. Brokers are having to keep up with that rate of change.

“With so many changes to the mortgage rules in the past 15 months, brokers are having to increase their wingspan and knowledge base into other market opportunities within the residential mortgage space,” said President of Argentum Mortgage and Finance Albert Collu, who’ll lead a workshop session on opportunities in the Alt A/B sphere. “These changes have impacted a great number of Canadians who are in search of alternative lending solutions, and mortgage brokers need to be poised and ready to serve them effectively.”

Part of that is finding short-term solutions that actually accrue to the benefit of clients now prepared to do the heavy lifting needed to resurrect bruised and battered credit , said another workshop presenter, Hali Strandlund, president of private lender FISGARD Capital.

Informing brokers of what alternative lending options are open to their clients is a key part of most workshop sessions during the all-day event, said Therien, “but sometimes the best thing a broker can do is refer on a client to a licensed credit counsellor.

It’s where session “Examining The Long-Term Cost of Debt” comes in, with 4 Pillar’s CEO Paul Murphy guiding brokers through the process of creating effective debt management solutions that help repair credit.

The CMP Mortgage Broker Workshop is also set to grow the social media skills of mortgage professionals, with REMIC President Joe White outlining how exactly brokers can take that technology and tailor it to their individual business models. All Collu and Therion ask is that part of that business plan involve steering client to lasting debt solutions.

For more information, go to CMP Mortgage Broker Workshop