Mortgage Brokering for Financial Planners

So, you are interested in offering your clients mortgages?

Like everyone of your clients, I am on a personal quest to grow wealth, provide for my family and have a little fun along the way.  In an effort to achieve this, I work with my Accountant, Mortgage Broker, Financial Planner, Lawyer, Insurance Broker and Realtor.  I love and respect them all dearly, but sometimes their limited view of my entire situation skews their financial advice to me.

I studied finance and made it my career for the past 20 plus years, and even I have a challenge sorting through it all.  There are too many variables to consider: new government regulation, “what I should do with my bonus”, RRSPs, mortgages, leveraging for investing, tax advantage strategies, Universal Life Policy versus Term Insurance, etc.   Over the years, I have changed the supporting cast on my financial team to include individuals that advise me with a better view of my entire picture.

The individuals I rely on the most are my Accountant and Financial Planner.  Mainly because they advise me based on my assets, liabilities, and are aware of tax strategies to save me money.

To be honest it took me awhile to find a Financial Planner that went beyond just selling me products. The sales pitch on “These guys managing this fund can beat the market” or an off the shelf T20 life policy… wasted a lot of time and got a little bit thin over the years.

Being the end consumer, I’m usually the one who has to determine what’s best for both the assets and liabilities on my family’s balance sheet.  Certainly, it’s not easy for most Canadians.  I wish there were more Financial Advisors that did both, it made life easier for me and probably would, for most as well.

To refer or do it yourself?

Currently, the vast majority of Financial Planners do not get involved in the mortgage transactions of their clients other than to send them to a referral source or to tell them to “go talk to your bank”.   I personally cringe when I hear this type of advice, “go back to your bank”, as the best course of action for consumers. Financial Planners should steer clients away from financial institutions that offer similar investment services. Put a picket fence around your database of clients with the ability to offer advice on financial solutions generally reserved by banks. The ability to provide mortgage advice or refer clients to institutions that don’t offer investment & insurance products, deposits or other services is a wise choice for the longevity of your business. Taking control of the direction the client is going with respect to their mortgage can provide further alignment with your financial plan for their future.  This reinforces your value and provides further entrenchment with those clients.

There are many impactful opportunities within your database that could benefit from mortgage advice; such as: high tax paying clients borrowing to take advantage of RRSP room, overfunding Universal Life Policies, leveraging to purchase a rental property, leveraging lines of credit on investment properties to invest in high yield 2nd mortgages, and other more complex investment strategies to maximize wealth.    

These opportunities allow you to truly position yourself as a provider of full financial solutions for your database of clients. This creates separation in your business and allows you to position a unique value proposition.

When reviewing your clients’ portfolios, if it doesn’t include active participation in their mortgage liabilities… or, better stated, mortgage opportunities, you are not doing your client justice.

Know thyself

Before I sell you on the opportunity of advising your clients on their mortgage options, you need to know yourself.  Some of you reading this article might see the opportunity but your heart or comfort level is not on the liabilities side of your client’s balance sheet.  That’s fine, there is an amazing group of mortgage brokers that you can partner with; as a team, you can help grow your client’s net worth, increase their wealth and set them up for a comfortable retirement.

However, if you’re a person who feels like getting into the details and ironing out a full strategy for your clients, please continue to read this article.

Can you be Dually Licensed?

The first question many ask is about the legality of dual licensing.  By this we mean the ability to advise and offer mortgages in addition to insurance and/or mutual funds.

On the provincial and federal regulation level, there are no restrictions on being licensed to offer mutual funds and being a mortgage agent at the same time.  However, some larger National firms have internal policies that won’t permit you to being dually licensed. They would prefer you to refer to their in-house partners or just hand off to a local financial institutions when it pertains to mortgage inquiries.

Please note, this is a restriction placed on you by your current broker and/or company, not by the provincial or federal regulator.

Agent versus Broker

A little vocabulary lesson.

A Mortgage Agent is the person who has a licence to arrange mortgages in a province.  A Mortgage Agent must work for a Brokerage to be able to transact loans.

A Mortgage Broker is a person who has been a Mortgage Agent for at least 2 years and had successfully acquired their Mortgage Broker licence.

A Brokerage is the company in which Mortgage Brokers and Agents work for.

A Broker of Record is a Mortgage Broker that is legally responsible for all the mortgage transactions completed within a Brokerage by all of the Mortgage Brokers and Mortgage Agents that work there.

Mortgage Agents must pass a provincial exam to practice mortgages in the province they wish to do business in. The best place to go and get more information is our Mortgage association, Mortgage Professionals Canada (https://mortgageproscan.ca/education).

As an Agent you need support

Now that you have decided that offering mortgages to your clients is something you want to pursue, you will need to find a Brokerage that you can work with.  Working with a brokerage has very little to do with the split on the commissions earned. Completing a mortgage transaction has a few moving parts that the right Brokerage can help you navigate. Here are a few items that you should be considering when looking for a Brokerage to work with:

Lender Access and Status.  Lenders don’t do business with every mortgage agent or broker that is licensed in Canada – and they also do not pay all of them the same.  Lenders reward Brokerages that provide volume, clean files and provide operational efficiency.  Rewards include access to products, dedicated underwriters and the highest compensation possible per transaction. Additional incentives are available for efficiencies and larger volumes in the mortgage industry.

Mortgage Origination Software.  Your Brokerage will have access to and train you on the tool that will allow you to submit your client’s mortgage application to Lenders.

Deal Support.  Sometimes there are “tough” deals which require an experienced eye to help package or tell the story that makes sense to a lender, in order to get a loan approved.  Having the support of an experienced Brokerage and team is vital to getting some loans approved.

Team Culture.  When interviewing Brokerages that you are considering working with, team culture is probably the number one item you should be concerned with.  Working with people that share your beliefs, work ethic and sense of community is very important.  Ask your Brokerage what they do about the following:

  • Company Events
  • Charitable Activities
  • Monthly Meetings
  • Accessibility and Broker Mentoring
  • Awards and Recognition
  • A place to work and hold client meetings
  • Annual Conferences
  • Reward and Incentive Trips

Marketing to your database of clients

Whether you know it or not, approx. 20% of your database of clients is renewing their mortgage this year, along with an additional 3% of your clients looking to do something with their home or mortgage.

I will say that again! 20% of your clients, that trust you, love you, pass over a portion of their pay-cheque to invest through you, who look to you to fund their children’s education, their retirement…. need to renew their mortgage this year!

Your clients have trusted you to manage their investments; therefore, they would be more than willing to listen if you offered mortgage products. It’s more convenient and doesn’t require much effort to have that conversation. You have a captive audience and a trust in your client database that will listen to your advice and value your knowledge. These lending services add credibility to what you are doing and can provide further financial stability for your clients moving forward. The opportunity for Financial Planners to have meaningful and impactful conversations about their clients’ mortgage, multiple times a year, gives you a competitive advantage over other financial institutions vying for that clients’ mortgage business.  

I don’t know how big your database of clients is, but do the math… remember that number and we will use it once we get to the section on Compensation.

Ancillary products benefit both the client and you. Augmenting your business by offering mortgage products that provide financial flexibility to your clients allows them to free up equity to invest and/or build additional wealth.

Tax time, RRSP/TFSA/RESP discussions, investing that annual bonus, portfolio reviews, market change discussions, etc.  Forget the ‘Happy Birthday’ cards and Christmas Calendars. You have the ability to connect with your clients 5 times a year and save (or make) them thousands of dollars. Use the opportunity, take advantage of it, but most importantly, help your clients.

CHIP/Reverse mortgages are an important segment of the market with a growing population in an age bracket where this may appeal to them. Clients that are struggling to maintain a lifestyle they are accustomed to, may see significant value in a reverse mortgage. This is a unique product offering for elderly clients that allows them to remain in their home yet enjoy financial freedom through the advance of funds to embrace retirement more comfortably.

Treat the mortgage brokering business as a secondary business to your core investment business. It is a complement to your core offerings. By referring mortgages and/or doing them yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to take focus away from your investment and/or insurance business.

If I were a Financial Planner today looking to expand my services to include mortgages, I would employ the following three CRM (Customer Relationship Management) campaigns to connect with my database of clients:

  • Include client’s mortgage in “Annual Client Review/KYC” discussions.
  • Take note of your clients’ mortgage maturity date and 6-8 months before that date connect with them to discuss their renewal options.
  • Send an annual Purview Report on your client’s home. Purview is a tool used by mortgage brokers and enables them to access information about a property, such as property value, ownership, registered mortgages, sales history, comparable property sales, and much more. The information in Purview is updated regularly with information from municipal and city assessment offices and third party providers, and from Ontario’s Land Registry Information System. To learn more about this tool, please refer to a mortgage broker or contact us!

These 3 ideas are easily executed and the Brokerage that you would work under would have the marketing pieces, CRM tools and access to Purview to help you connect with your database of clients.

These are CRM campaigns that you would have access to, in addition to other tools, resources and knowledge that will assist you in your financial planning business.

Compensation       

Earlier in this article we talked about “know thyself”.  If during that soul-searching section of this exercise you decided you would like to continue referring your clients back to their bank,  I would offer one little twist on that: refer them to a Mortgage Broker.  Likewise with Real-Estate referrals, there is an unwritten standard referral fee of 25% of the commission earned when referring clients.  When referring to a Bank, you would be lucky to get a key chain.    

However, if on the other hand you are “all in” on offering your clients mortgages, here is a general guide to the compensation available per mortgages. 

The average mortgage in Canada is currently $350,000. The average total compensation paid on a loan is ~1%. Therefore, in our example $3,500. The gross revenue is split between the Brokerage and the Agent.  The Brokerage earns a portion of the compensation for providing you use of its Brokerage licence, access to Lenders who will fund these transactions, office support, training, and all other services. The splits between Brokerages and Agents vary from brokerage to brokerage, based on services, the amount of support required, and a host of other factors and variables. To keep the math simple in our example, let’s say the split on this loan is 25% to the Brokerage and 75% to you, the Agent. Your compensation on this loan would be $2,625.

Now, if you had 100 clients in your database and 20% of them are renewing their mortgage this year, you would have 20 clients to offer mortgages to. That’s a possible $52,500 additional revenue to your business.

Recession proof your business by adding services where you can earn supplemental revenue while helping your clients. Combat the proliferation of self-investors by adding a new revenue stream to your business. Mortgages are very much related to what you do and provide synergy to the financial plans you craft for your individual clients. A small investment of your time to get licensed can pay huge dividends as the compensation on the mortgage broker side of the business can be lucrative.

Industry Organizations

A great opportunity to learn a little more about what the Canadian Mortgage Industry has to offer in terms of business relationships, brokerages to work with, lenders to do business with, licensing requirements and much more, is to attend the events put on by our industry associations.  We have both National and Provincial industry groups.  Depending on your geography, check out the following groups:

National – Mortgage Professionals Canada – https://mortgageproscan.ca/

Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association, Ontario –  http://www.cmbaontario.ca/

Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association, British Columbia – https://www.cmbabc.ca/

Alberta’s Mortgage Brokers Association – https://www.amba.ca/

Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association, Atlantic Canada – https://cmbaatlantic.ca/

Networks

90% of all mortgage brokerages in Canada work under an umbrella organization that provides technology, tools, services, CRM, processes, insurance, agent onboarding, on-going training, events and opportunities to network with other professionals. The article you are currently reading is being brought to you by the best network in the industry, Mortgage Centre Canada (MCC).  I am a little bias, as I am the President of MCC.

Offering additional mortgage products is a wise choice and an opportunity to increase revenue, however it comes with a caveat. If you don’t set yourself up with the proper brokerage and network, one that provides value, support, infrastructure along with the proper tools and resources, it could be difficult to navigate everything that is involved during a mortgage transaction. The value of a National Mortgage Brokerage network is paramount to the success of your new venture.

Ultimately, this one decision can set you up for success or failure. Linking yourself with the right organization/brokerage network can facilitate access to key resources that will assist you in providing a great level of knowledge and service when it comes to mortgages. Realize that knowledge is power and learning about all the options that are available to you is an important part of the due diligence process.

Where to get started

If after reading this entire article you are interested in exploring adding mortgages to the services you provide your clients, I recommend the following path.

  1. Have a coffee with a few Mortgage Brokers. Brokerages are always interested in acquiring new and talented agents or referral sources. Connect with a mortgage broker in your local market and ask a ton of questions. If you need assistance in finding a few brokers to speak to, please reach out to us directly (sales@mortgagecentrecanada.com) and we would be happy to provide you a few names.
  2. Attend an industry event. Sometimes you can learn a lot by being a fly on the wall at industry events or taking full advantage of the networking opportunities at these events. Check out the upcoming events put on by our National Industry group, Mortgage Professionals Canada – https://mortgageproscan.ca/
  3. Get licensed using one of the following educational groups to get your licence:
    • Mortgage Professionals Canada
    • REMIC
    • Regional Mortgage Broker Associations
  1. Work for a Brokerage that you like. Interview a few broker owners before you find a home. Find a Brokerage that can help you grow your business, has a good reputation, and offers mentorship program. The Brokerage that gives you the ‘biggest split” is not always the right one. You will need help getting mortgages funded before you need a bigger split.
  2. Learn about the lenders in the mortgage broker space. There are hundreds of lenders and thousands of product options for your client’s Don’t get overwhelmed, take one lender at a time. Every Lender has a sales force whose job is to teach and cultivate business from new Mortgage Agents. Your broker owner and your participation at industry events will get you access to learning more about these lenders.
  3. Break some eggs and talk to your clients. Use the suggestions in the previous section called “Marketing to you database of clients”.
  4. Lean on your Brokerage and Network for support. Your broker owner is invested in your success; when you need help…call them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Wishing you success in whatever decision you make,

 

Rich Spence

President, Mortgage Centre Canada