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More on AGF Trust

AGF-Trust As with many lenders, the economic and credit downturn is casting a shadow on AGF Trust.  It turns out the company has reorganized a much larger part of its mortgage operations than we reported Tuesday.

Upwards of 50 employees will be laid off in all–roughly 10% of the AGF Trust workforce.  The staffing cuts include employees in the mortgage and investment loan sides of the business, sales, underwriting, administration, and project management.

AGF says “every effort has been made to reallocate resources within the organization to ensure that we continue to service our mortgage broker clients with excellence.”

Despite the cuts, the company told us it is nonetheless fully “committed to mortgage brokers and the mortgage business division within AGF.”

AGF VP, Lucy Becker, said that Area Lending Managers will now play a dual role, providing both sales and service.  The company is also focusing on a new “end-to-end service delivery model.”  Going forward, it says brokers can expect “one point of contact for all inquiries on a mortgage transaction–from application through to funding.”

With lower funding volumes, the company has had to defer some key initiatives including “regional expansion.”  AGF strongly believes the job cuts will not affect service levels, however.  It says that’s because staffing levels were increased just before the credit crunch started taking a toll.

As regular readers know well, AGF is not the only lender facing short-term challenges in Canada.  They won’t be the last either.  Given that AGF’s parent has been around for 50 years and is relatively stable, AGF Trust may bounce back sooner than most however.

For those unfamiliar with the company, AGF Trust serves the non-prime Canadian mortgage market, providing both conventional and insured mortgages.  It distributes its mortgages through the broker channel and uses its balance sheet to fund them (as opposed to securitization).

Among other things, AGF is still one of a few lenders offering insured second mortgages at reasonable rates.

AGF’s average conventional loan-to-value was 68% in its latest quarter.