Mortgage Specialists

Every now and then we find little articles in the news and like to talk about them. Here’s a story, for example, on bank mortgage specialists (an RBC specialist in particular) from the New Brunswick Business Journal.  Story Link 

Like mortgage planners, mortgage specialists get paid by commission.  The best ones earn good money.  We know specialists at RBC for example, making over $200,000 a year. 

Bank-Mortgage-Specialists And, it seems banks are always hiring.  You can see dozens of mortgage specialist positions available on CMT’s mortgage jobs page.

Naturally, the main difference between bank mortgage specialists and mortgage planners is that bank reps sell just bank products.  Mortgage planners sell and research multiple lender’s products.

There’s also differences in licensing. Most provinces require brokers to be licensed and meet minimum educational requirements.  Not so much with mortgage specialists.  (Although that may change)

In any event, it would be great to hear from any bank mortgage specialists out there on the pro’s and con’s of working for the bank versus being independent. 

What do you love about working at a bank?  Do you find it problematic selling just one line of mortgages?  How often does bank bureaucracy get in the way?  How much do you keep up on competitors’ products?  What do you suggest to bank clients when you know another lender has clearly better rates/terms than you can offer?

This is meant to be a constructive dialog and we welcome your comments.

  1. IS this a make work project? How about some brokers/agents answer the same questions below, i.e. how have you been an agent for ex. number of years and only used a couple of lenders-how is that looking after your clients needs?
    How come there is so much fraud in broker sourced business? Get the point!
    In any event, it would be great to hear from any bank mortgage specialists out there on the pro’s and con’s of working for the bank versus being independent.
    What do you love about working at a bank? Do you find it problematic selling just one line of mortgages? How often does bank bureaucracy get in the way? How much do you keep up on competitors’ products? What do you suggest to bank clients when you know another lender has clearly better rates/terms than you can offer?
    [Edited]

  2. Oh my, I get such a kick out of this website and the bashing that takes place against banks. Clearly, looking at both sides instead of only one, could prove to be valuable to clients.
    The pros
    1-banks do ensure that courses are taken within and the ethics are extremely strong. Although they have opted not to be part of the broker world for many reasons, bank Mortgage Specialists are highly trained and not put out untrained nor uneducated. Standards are very very high
    2- Marketing websites free of charge…
    3- Thousands of staff to refer business to you. If a client is moving from BC to NFLD, not to worry, as a professional is there with the same expertise
    4-support of branch staff and their strong referrals
    5-ability to trouble shoot with the help of your branch partners…maybe temporary financing? Maybe RSP’s from another place has not come in on time? Maybe…the possibilities are endless
    6-service both before and AFTER. If you think of the difference between a Cadillac and a neon, you pay for what you get. Sometimes the bank rates are lower, sometimes the broker but one thing you can count on is no matter where you are, you can find someone to talk to about your bank mortgage.
    7-although we do have one lender (other than our alternative lender who has many), we have more than one product and do not have to pick lenders who pay higher but instead pick the product that is best for the client. Although you state that banks only have one lender, you are incorrect. With our alternative lender, who is an employee, we have access to other lenders just like brokers
    8-low cost to operate business. Errors and omission, computer, brochures, branch office, paper, printer etc all supplied by the bank
    9-support from all areas of the bank from Head office, to managers to branch staff
    10-competition? Yes, we do our homework!
    11- STRENGTH. Have you thought about the current financial situations around USA and some of the lenders who have pulled out of Canada? Have you heard about the lenders who are not renewing mortgages? Have you thought about the financial stability of where you mortgage is? If it is a weak lender, will you qualify to take your mortgage somewhere else if they will not renew it? What is your current situation changes and although you pay your mortgage well, maybe you lost your job…will another lender take on the risk when your current lender one won’t renew it?
    12-obviously, if the banks are bashed so bad on this website, it is clear that they are big competition! :)
    The cons?
    Sorry, can’t think of any. Love my job security!

    1. Ashley
      Loved what you wrote,even though it was a long time ago. I am retiring after 40 years as a realtor and thinking of joining/teaming up with one of the primary Banks in Ottawa. Are they still hiring mortgage specialists inhouse, or are they all classified as mobile mortgage advisers?

  3. Ashley….
    I’ll give you one, considering it caused me to leave my job as a specialist:
    – a 42% tax bracket on the upper band
    you’re paying a huge insurance premium for your “security”…you must recommend your bank’s uneconomical MLI as well?

  4. Guess you couldn’t cut it Whistler if you maxed out at the 42% tax bracket. MLI–uneconomical, now that is funny–one can make the case that they are all uneconomical. But I will say this, at least branch staff take some courses and learn about life insurance, how many brokers/agents take courses about life insurance–not many!

  5. Hi Huh,
    In doing this piece the goal was to bring to light the benefits and challenges of mortgage specialists.
    Further to your point, however, you’re totally right that (like any business) the broker barrel has a small number of apples that are bad. These people will hopefully be exposed and removed from the business. Fortunately they are a small minority and the mortgage broker industry (like the banking industry) is represented by good and honest professionals.
    Per your first question, if a broker uses only 2-3 lenders then he/she better have a good reason for it and there better be full disclosure to the client. We’ve touched on this in other posts.
    Regarding fraud, that is a serious issue that is absolutely not tolerated by regulators or lenders. There are plenty of checks and balances in the system to sniff it out. Melanie and I know this firsthand because we’ve seen clients try to pass fake documents.
    Lastly, while we appreciate all honest feedback, one of the comments was edited as it was broadly accusatory and unsubstantiated.
    Ashley,
    Appreciate the comment. This is the constructive feedback we were hoping for (except the bank bashing part…LOL).
    The goal was to give brokers and borrowers insights into your business and you make some excellent points. Thank you.
    The truth is, we have utmost respect for the banks. Canadian banks are the best in the world. My wife and I wouldn’t hesitate to work for RBC or BMO, for example, if it fit our business model.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  6. HeyWhistler – Brokers are not permitted to sell life insurance unless they are properly licensed. All we can do is notify clients that mortgage life is available, provide very basic information, and suggest they contact the insurance company for details.

  7. quote from Whistler “I’ll give you one, considering it caused me to leave my job as a specialist:
    – a 42% tax bracket on the upper band ”
    LOL, now that is funny ! Yeah, go be an independent broker in this market right now, you will be in a 25% tax bracket !

  8. At the end of the day, for client like myself, we’re not getting any guaranteed from any Mortgage Specialist or Mortgage Planner. We have to do our own home work and whoever we go with will get commission anyway. Can’t trust anybody these days. Just make sure you’re happy with what you sign up for. Thinking that this world if full of honest people is foolish. To me, specialist and planner aren’t that much different. They are both there for your service, use them both and pick the best one.
    I am sorry, but I don’t have 100k liquid sitting in the bank and I feel like I am just another account number to them. Let’s keep the competition going or medium income family will always be left behind. Those who need help the most never get help.

  9. A lot of bitter bank specialists here!
    Do whats right for you – I don’t regret my decision at all….And Jimmy, if you feel you’ll be in a 25% tax bracket if you leave, you should continue flogging your in-house products and keep your head down.

  10. This thread is turning to the absurd-let’s keep the testosterone in check.
    Everyone trying to defend thy honour.
    Here’s the bottom line->Work with someone you like, comfortable with, trust, who is intelligent, has been in the game for awhile, etc. or do your own homework and do it yourself.

  11. Hi everyone, Most people are honest people. We don’t have to be cynical. Find someone you click with and ask them if they compare all the lenders for you. If they don’t then ask them how they know their bank’s mortgage is the best one for you. It’s really simple when you think about it. You just need to get a sense for whether someone has your best interests in mind.

  12. I am about to take a 170 000$ mortgage, who do i go with? my bank (bmo) who’s offering me 4.79 fixed for 5 years? or keep looking and try to find a mortgage broker in montreal (any websites?) to find me a better deal?
    Plz help instead of fighting which is better :)

  13. Hi MortgageNovice,
    If you have a solid application you can find better rates elsewhere. However, BMO has good products so they are worth considering. Find a mortgage planner who can compare all your options and make a recommendation. You can look here for planners in your area, or drop us a line and we can suggest someone.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  14. Interesting thread.
    I’ve been a mortgage broker for the last 3 years but prior to that I at a financial institution for 15 years as a lending specialist. Based on my experience working for both sides, I can honestly say I do a much better job meeting my client’s mortgage needs as a mortgage broker than I could as a bank lending specialist.

  15. Benefits
    Retirement Fund
    Profit Sharing Plan
    Stock Options
    Banking employee offers (Extremely low interest rates for being a bank employee)
    My Mom thinks I am cool.

  16. Whistler, I was simply commenting on the ridiculous reason for leaving a job being that you are making too much and you are in a high tax bracket ! Kind of like the little old lady who “doesn’t want to earn interest because she will just have to pay tax on it ”
    LOL, with your logic you should do quite well !

  17. Hi Cool Specialist,
    I have to agree, those are great benefits for you. But please enlighten me on how they help your client get the best mortgage for their needs.
    Thanks

  18. Brent
    I am surprised you asked this question as it is such an easy answer. We listen to the clients, look at their needs, their goals, and match the products and benefits with these in mind. It’s not only about the rate, it is about the advise and the planning to help them achieve their goals. Mortgage Novice, you asked where you should go? It depends on if you are looking for a quick hit or long term advice with a range of products to meet all of your needs and help you plan to reach your true goals. Today alone, I have had 2 clients book appointments with me because of the lack of after closing service that they have received from their brokers. It is really no fault of the broker as their hands are tied once the mortgage is closed. Both clients are willing to pay high penalties to switch their mortgage out early. The thing is that our rates were lower when they took out their mortgage, so, with rates, sometimes a broker is lower, sometimes the banks are lower. So really, what are your goals and have you received the advice to help you get there?

  19. I will start by saying that I am neither a broker or mortgage specialist at a bank. Actually, I don’t work in the “mortgage industry” but I have a great deal of knowledge of the real estate industry.
    With respect to the 42% tax bracket — it is an excellent point. If you are an incorporated broker than you can pay as low as 10-15% total tax — that is a savings of $60,000+ a year … I’m guessing that is more than the stock options, profit sharing and benefits all put together.
    As a consumer, I have consistently gotten better rates from a broker than any bank (I’ve had 4 different mortgages), but that may be because my particulars are a dream to lending institutions (their words not mine). Just my two cents.

  20. As a bank specialist there are some great advantages, both for clients and myself.
    Most of the time we can match any rate out there, unless a lender is severely undercutting everyone (sometimes brokers cannot access those rates either).
    There are mortgage products and services we provide that brokers cannot.
    24 month (or longer) capped rates for new construction.
    Quick and easy access to client’s direct deposit income information and assets.
    Contrary to the myths out there, we do not try to highball our clients and hope they are not smart enough to negotiate. We provide the best rates we can up front. To do any less is bad business and we are well compensated.
    We have no incentives pushing us toward particular products. We are paid the same on any mortgage product, whether it is a 1 yr, 5 yr, variable, LOC, cashback etc. (is it the same for brokers?) We can do what is best for the customer.
    I can monitor the process from beginning to end and afterwards, when I can check their mortgage accounts to answer questions, and work with branch staff to provide top service.
    There are lots of advantages to working with a bank specialist. Sure you can get a slightly better rate, but at what cost?

  21. What kind of commissions do Mortgage Specialist get compared to a broker?
    It sounds like the bank employee’s have a bit more security and a constant flow of customers coming from many different avenues or am I not getting the other side of the story?
    I don’t know too much about the industry but find this conversation pretty interesting.

  22. I am planning to take the Mortgage Brokers program offered through UBC, and am doing research on who I ought to apply with afterward. I found this thread (mostly) helpful. Trying to gather facts, not opinions.
    Thank you Ashley for providing some usefull information. I gather, based on what Ive learned, It would be a smarter choice to apply with a bank. It seems like being an independent would be an interesting venture, but doesn’t offer as much job security.
    If anyone has any other helpfull hints or suggestions for those trying to enter this field, please pass them on!
    Thanks

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