National Bank aims to grow referrals

National Bank aims to grow referrals

Realtors and brokers are primed to a play an increasing role in National Bank’s growth strategy for mortgage lending, its CEO said on a conference call this week to discuss strong Q2 financials.

“I’m trying to still do more business with real estate agents because it’s less costly,” Réjean Lévesque, executive VP of personal and commercial banking at Canada’s sixth largest bank told analysts participating in the afternoon teleconference. “So I’d rather get my origination from the cheapest source for mortgages. That’s why we’ve been expanding the number of people doing business with real estate agents outside Quebec.”

The bank is including brokers in that cost-effective equation, with Vachon telling analysts that those mortgage professionals are effective in helping the bank grow business for other segments of its book.

Vachon: “We have put in place… a specific program with our people to make sure that if they come from a broker that we welcome the customer and try to convert him (to a)  full-fledged” banking customer for “his operational account and insurance and all types of products.”

The bank head did not provide details for what if any compensation for realtors exists.

The news comes as National Bank reported a Q2 profit of $295 million, compared with the $261 million of a year ago. It is also making strides in its efforts to grow its business through the broker channel with increasingly competitive products and compensation structure for brokers.

“National Bank Broker Services has been growing exponentially over the past 4 years” Mark Squire, director of Broker Services, told  “Our business has grown 6 fold and 2011 will be another growth year for the broker channel. We are one of a few lenders who have continued to grow this year with a 30.65 per cent increase in funded volumes when comparing our mid fiscal year performance year over year. This growth has come from brokers seeing the value that we can bring them in offering a vast suite of products and services.