At least two CAAMP members have now initiated formal complaints against RBC, alleging the mega bank violated no less than three rules set out in the association's code of ethics.
While one CAAMP member will file his own formal complaint against RBC today, another is asking all AMPs to sign their names to his. Both grievances argue RBC -- a lender-member of CAAMP -- erred in allowing an employee to circulate inaccurate information about its fellow members.
“Some colleagues in the industry have asked me to bring the complaint forward,” AMP Greg Williamson, founder of 180 Degrees Coaching , told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “But instead of it just coming from me, I’ve posted the complaint to my website to give other CAAMP members the opportunity to sign their names.”
The complaint argues RBC, a lender member of CAAMP, breeched tenets 1, 6 and 8 of the association’s Code of Ethics in permitting a B.C. mobile mortgage specialist to circulate a flyer perpetuating inaccurate and insulting stereotypes about mortgage brokers. The rules demand members ensure “their personnel are knowledgeable in the areas of the mortgage industry,” refrain from “unfairly criticiz(ing) a competitor” and “maintain standards of honesty, truth, accuracy, fairness and propriety in advertising.”
Williamson’s complaint – as well as another, also being sent off today -- accuses RBC of having violated all three rules. It also answers CAAMP President Jim Murphy who told MortgageBrokerNews that the organization needs a formal complaint in order to consider censure.
On Monday, Murphy declined to confirm what if any complaints have now been lodged. “We do not discuss any complaints publicly,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.
Williamson was one of the first to expose the RBC document, posting it on his blog website, www.gregwilliamson.ca. In it the RBC employee outlines the differences between mortgage brokers and specialists.
“Brokers will farm out your mortgage to a number of companies and then will set you up with a financial institution based on only the lowest rate, no other factors,” reads the undated document -- “Understanding the difference between mortgage specialists and mortgage brokers.” An RBC logo and the name of one of its British Columbia mortgage specialists appear on the flyer.
“When selling your mortgage the broker and the financial institutions reviewing your file may pull numerous credit bureau requests depending on their software capabilities,” continues the document, which aims to provide mortgage specialists with talking points to answer client questions. “Brokers will charge set up fees and have other hidden costs you should be aware of.”
The mortgage specialist isn’t a CAAMP member, ruling out any direct action again her. While RBC has issued a statement distancing itself from her document, it hasn’t indicated what if any disciplinary action the specialist faces.
CAAMP’s formal complaint process could see the bank respond in writing as early as the end of May, but only if the association’s ethics investigator finds the grievances “merit” further investigation. Passing that litmus test, they’re then sent to the chair of CAAMP’s National Ethics Committee (NEC) who will either dismiss the recommendation or opt for a formal investigation. That could trigger a hearing, although the chair could move directly to censure or fine RBC.
Williamson argues the formal process as the best way for the broker channel to deal with concerns about any loss of reputation stemming from the RBC document. “I know that additional distraction and drama is the last thing we all need as we go about our day,” wrote the Alberta broker in his most recent blog, “but I think that the potential for harm to our well earned reputations has just not been addressed appropriately by the Royal Bank.”