The case of an ill woman coming close to losing her home because of a bank oversight has highlighted the value-add of brokers over branch representatives, argue channel veterans.
“I am not sure what the process is for the banks,” says Anthony Contento, president and CEO of Mortgage Architects
, Sherwood Mortgage Group. “However, if it were a mortgage agent who was helping this woman with the finance, I am almost certain the woman would have been alerted and understood her contract. When you deal with a mortgage broker, you are dealing with a professional, and a true consultant in mortgage financing.”
It was only when Dorothy Jean of Welland, Ont., was near the end of her rope that she appealed to the Toronto Star, having grown weary of the back and forth between her mortgage lender, Caisse Populaire Welland, its parent company Desjardins and her doctor, who was handling her disability claim. It was at this point that a Realtor checked her paperwork, and informed Jean that she had paid for disability insurance to cover her $2,400 mortgage payments in the event of illness.
It’s something her bank rep. appears to have overlooked. In fact, according to the Toronto Star “On Your Side article,” the 62-year-old Jean had been checking with her bank for the last five years, and “every time I went in, not one person said, ‘Dorothy, do you have insurance with us?’”
Ultimately, her Realtor’s discovery resulted in a refund from the bank in the amount of $23,729, and peace of mind in knowing Jean no longer had to find $2,400 a month in mortgage payments to remain in her home.
Contento says that the constant training and wealth of background knowledge that mortgage agents have (as opposed to banking specialists) could have forestalled the situation.
“As a mortgage agent when interviewing a customer we advise them on the benefits of taking life insurance,” Contento tells MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “We give them a pamphlet for them to read and understand. At the time of closing, we sit with the customers and offer both life and disability should they qualify. It is our responsibility as an agent to ensure the consumer is offered life insurance and clearly understands the benefits.”
Jean had asked the bank to suspend her payments for three months back in January while she filed her disability claim and waited for approval. When March turned into April, she began to panic and eventually contacted the Toronto Star.
Contento points to the ongoing relationship between broker and client and the dialogue that ensures there is no confusion as to what options are available.
“The client must initial if they will accept the insurance or not,” he points out. “This means, there will have had to be a conversation with our customer, and an opportunity for them to ask any questions relating to the insurance.”