Google has officially launched its own American rate site, but what sort of impact would it have in Canada?
“I think what you would end up with is a more polarized business, with people focusing on rate and others focusing on service,” James Smythe, a broker with Dominion Lending Centres
Central, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “If Google were to launch a rate site in Canada I think it would make it harder on brokers who focus on rate because clients will have more access to the market.”
Google announced Tuesday the launch of a mortgage rate site as part of its “Compare” brand, which boasts an auto insurance comparison tool as well.
“Nearly 1 in 2 borrowers still don’t shop around for their mortgage and often feel like they don’t have enough information to make an educated choice,” said Nicolas Wk, director of product management and Google Compare, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal
. “Google Compare for mortgages provides a seamless, intuitive experience that connects lenders with borrowers online.”
The tool is currently available in California, and a larger scale launch is planned for the future.
The model is similar to the one used by various rate sites in Canada.
Google told Tech Crunch “participation in Google Compare is based on a flexible cost-per-lead (CPL) model.”
If – and it’s still if – Google decides to roll the product out in Canada, it could provide some challenges for brokers.
Many potential broker clients begin their search online, and Google is the leading search engine. Having its own rate comparison tool could result in the highest rated searches pointing to its broker affiliates.
And that could impact not only broker business, but existing rate websites as well.