Buyer Protection Plan

Buyer-Protection-PlanRealtor referrals can be a valuable chunk of business for mortgage professionals. But cultivating new relationships with Realtors is a challenge.

Real estate agents have heard all the sales pitches from bank reps and brokers before (i.e. low rates, fast approvals, good products, etc.). It takes something a little more unique to snatch Realtors’ attention these days. That got Greg Williamson thinking.

Williamson, a Calgary mortgage broker and mortgage trainer, has come up with an idea called the Buyer Protection Plan (BPP).

“It’s based on the fact that home buying is primarily an emotional decision and fear is the biggest factor,” Williamson says. “The Buyer Protection Plan mitigates that fear.”

In a nutshell, the Buyer Protection Plan protects home buyers from loss if the home they buy falls in value after one year. More specifically, if there’s a drop in the median MLS sales price of similar local properties, the seller rebates the buyer up to 5% of the purchase price.

Here’s an example to illustrate:

Suppose a home sells for $300,000 and the seller agrees to put 5% ($15,000) in escrow to protect the buyer.

If prices fall 5% or more, the buyer would receive this $15,000.

If prices don’t fall at all, the seller would get back the $15,000.

If prices fall less than 5%, the escrow funds are split proportionately.

Whoever gets the escrow money pays the escrow fee of $499 + tax. (Update: That was the original cost of the program. The fee is now $299 as of May 2013.) 

The key terms are negotiated up front between the buyer and seller and BPP handles the rest of the process, including:

  • Setting up an escrow account to guarantee the buyer’s rebate if prices drop
  • Engaging BPP-approved lawyers familiar with the program
  • Providing the proper legal agreements
  • Facilitating approval from lenders and mortgage default insurers (approvals are done with specific lenders who allow the program)

To offer the BPP to home sellers, real estate agents must be invited into the program by a member mortgage broker. There is zero cost to the Realtor and the Realtor gets his/her own marketing materials and web site. That site explains the BPP to sellers and markets the agent’s BPP-approved real estate listings.

BPP makes money by charging member mortgage brokers a small per-listing fee of $19.95 (Update: This fee has been eliminated as of May 2013.) and monthly membership fee ($180+ which also includes various sales coaching tools).

In return, mortgage brokers get access to warm mortgage leads from member Realtors and home sellers. Brokers also get feature sheets for Realtor open houses, a custom web page with videos, a link to qualify buyers for the BPP, and a link for Realtors to sign up.

The marketing behind the idea is quite clever. Those involved each have their own potential upside:

  • Realtors get a unique selling proposition to attract new listings and move stagnant ones
  • Buyers get piece of mind without having to time the market
  • Sellers get a persuasive tool to market their homes, versus simply cutting the price
  • Brokers get a value-add to market to Realtors, along with new sources of leads

Granted, the BPP isn’t relevant for hot properties, and certain buyers will prefer to negotiate guaranteed up-front price reductions. Nevertheless, a segment of the market could buy into something like this. For that reason, we tip our hat to Williamson for creative thinking and for executing the idea.

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More information can be found at: www.buyerprotectionplan.ca

  1. Awesome! This product is creative, innovative and relevant at this time in the Canadian real estate market. There was also no mention to Part 1 of the BPP (mortgage strategy), which on its own has great value.

  2. Glad to see this finally getting the positive exposure it is worthy of. This is the best mortgage program I have seen in my 10 years as a Broker. We have heard media report after report about price reductions, slowing sales, rate fears, etc. This program eliminates those fears, putting buyers in a confident position to buy. This makes sellers happy. While this program is coined the “Buyer Protection Plan” it truly is protection for the seller too and they tend to be forgotten in an unsettled real estate market. I am very happy to be part of this strategy!

  3. “protection for the seller”
    You can’t be serious? The seller is assuming all the risk. If house prices go down 5%, the home’s seller takes a double hit. 5% loss on the house they sold in past as well as the one they bought.

  4. BPP is a fantastic idea. As for the banker in the ivory tower you have missed what segement of the market this program supports and that is the segment which is not selling or taking more than 90-120 days to sell. If I had a 300,000 listing that was on the market for more than 120 days I can assure you a price reduction of more than 15,000 (5%) would be insisted upon. This BPP allows sellers an advantage less risky than no sale at all.

  5. Respectfully Mr. Banker (just as an aside I always wonder why people don’t use their real name when Posting on Blogs, especially when they are being critical?) when markets shift to a Buyers market, as they of course have many times in the past, sellers assume all the risk, and significant cost.
    This is because the only tool to combat this is repeated price drops. This is equity a seller WILL never get back. With the Buyer Protection Plan a seller can sell their home for a fair price today and offer to share the risk with the buyer going forward.
    I might also remind you that from Mid 2008 to mid 2009 many metro markets in Canada so mid-teen drops in prices. From mid 2009 to mid 2010 all those same markets absorbed all their losses and in some case overshot the previous highs. Sellers who sold during that time would have sold their home for top dollar in a tough market, and would have got the escrow money to boot because the market rose.

  6. Bringing some balance to a view and a discussion where there was none is not being critical. What I presented was a valid opposing con to a product discussion and a viewpoint that was completely absent up to that point. If your intent is to dismiss and argue all opposing views, then IMO, you’re going about marketing this the wrong way since what makes the internet and wonderful sites like this one so successful and valuable is the uncensored balance of information.
    IMO, you have a wonderful and innovative product that has great merit in the marketing of certain properties in certain market cycles. It’s success will likely be measured by buyer need, word of mouth and not glossy advertising or biased viral campaigns.

  7. Isn’t usually the #1 reason a property is still on the market after 120 days is because the listing is overpriced for the market?
    I am confused. Are you suggesting that an overpriced listing is more marketable if it came with this buyer protection as opposed to being priced right for the market?

  8. Agreed. When I say “being critical” I do not intend that to be negative at all toward the critic. I just am always curious of the intent of the critic when they don’t put their real name is all.
    I believe that criticism is valuable and I welcome it as much as positive commentary on any of my innovations, believe me when I say I look to it as a gift.
    My intent therefore is not to dismiss opposing views, but rather to help the critic fill in gaps where I think there may be. In effect make sure they have all the facts or answer questions they need to gain more clarity.
    Thanks for the opportunity to discuss.

  9. Banker you raise a fair question regarding which sells quicker, a property with a X% upfront price drop or the same property with a guarantee against a 5% downside. It depends on the price drop and other things, but perhaps one of the experienced Realtors out there can lend their thoughts on this.
    I ran a few numbers this morning just for fun (yes, this is my idea of fun). It turns out that the odds of a year-over-year price decline in any given month are 22%. That’s based on national price data back to 1980. (That should be viewed as just a rough estimate. If you factor out Toronto and Vancouver, focus on local data, and/or go back further in time, the numbers would look different.)
    At any rate:
    * In those 22% of months when prices were lower than one year before, the average price drop was 3.7%.
    * In those 78% of months when prices were higher than one year before, the average price increase was 8.6%.
    The expected value in any given month is therefore a 7.5% gain year-over-year (based solely on historical national data).
    If one were to draw rudimentary conclusions from this, one might assume that:
    * Sellers would be better off in many cases by using the BPP instead of lowering their price.
    * Buyers would (mathematically speaking) be just as well off with a 1.1% up-front price drop than a 5% BPP guarantee. (22% probability of price declines x 5% guarantee = 1.1%).
    * BPP has the most value when buyers expect prices to decline (like in today’s market). In those cases most buyers would assign a greater probability of price declines than 22%. In turn, the BPP would be more valuable than a simple 1.1% upfront price drop.)
    There are, of course, countless scenarios and exceptions. The likely case is that most parties using the BPP will agree to part upfront price reduction and part BPP guarantee.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  10. If I was a seller and the mere thought of a price guarantee bought a buyer to my listing and in turn negotiated a deal, with or without the Buyer Protection Plan, I’d be satisfied. The deal is in the eye of the beholder. Some buyers might feel better with the BPP and some not Either way, I think it’s a win win all the way round. As Seth Godin says, like everything in life, it may not be for everyone.

  11. First I want to say that I am all in favor of any new product out there than can create extra sales regardless if it is 1 or 10,000.
    Prior to this post I have never heard of this product nor Greg Williamson so I did a google seach and looked at your website. Greg you appear to be sucessful from what I read about you which is the reason from my post here today.
    Greg you came back initally at banker in an ivory tower with a “show me your face attitiude” which has given me a not so positive opinion of you. I too choose not to post my name on this site. Why? Beacuse these blogs give us the ability to make that choice and the reason is my business only and it should end there. Banker in an ivory tower had made several posts on this site and for the most part I have agreed with what he/she has to say.
    Most of us who post on this are “average joe’s” in the industry and are not at your level. WE go back and forth at times and things can get “heated” but like I said earlier most of us are average joe’s.
    Greg you claim to be a professional tranier who has launched a national product so I would think your standards should be higher than most. In my opinion you came off extremely negative in your original post by calling out banker in an ivory tower or anyone of us that choose not to post our real name. I think this is a wonderful site and I think Rob is a true professional who has been critized in posts in the past however I never recall Rob ever coming out with the “show me your face” attitude
    Since that first post you have tried to back track a bit but what was said, was said. We all know Selling 101, Overcoming Objections and in my opinion Greg you initial response was not the best.
    Again just my opinion on what I have seen from this. As for the product I do not know enough about it to comment however like I said earlier anything that can make a sale works for me.

  12. Banker99, you have some great points and I can’t disagree with choices to stay anonymous for whatever reason. Having said that, this is Greg’s baby if you will and I know from experience, first thought is to protect your baby. For what it’s worth, he’s a great guy and treats EVERYONE as his equal. We’re ALL average Joe’s if you will :)

  13. Point taken. I respect your right to your opinion and Ivory’s. I honestly had no ill intention, I was merely expressing my own opinion, in fact it was a tangent to my main comment. I sincerely wish not so much attention was made about my opinion. I own that.
    If your willing could we move the conversation to the original intent of this post.
    Thanks again

  14. I am a supporter of the program and believe that it takes a lot of guts for someone to think outside the box, come up with something new and put their name and reputation on the line to launch it. As well as continue to comment in public forums with their name attached to it. It is easy to hide behind a username and say whatever you like with no real consequences. Just my opinion.
    I believe you can be an individual who will sit back and let the real estate industry do its thing and hope everything goes your way, or you can be an individual who tries to make things better, for buyers and sellers as well as for yourself and your referrals. I am new to the industry and appreciate individuals willing to step up and show creativity and support for one another in such a competitive environment.
    In the end whether this program becomes a smashing success or the market turns and the program is not needed, congrats to Greg and the many other Brokers and Realtors that decided to take their passion and hard work and lay it on the line to bring innovation to the real estate community.
    I am looking forward to more education on the program so people who may not get it can get the information and come on board.

  15. Greg Williamson is probably the most innovative person in the mortgage industry. Period. With all of his products and services to drive business to mortgage brokers.
    With his new BPP,it will drive potential business to mortgage brokers as well. I am not a member of his program, and also, if I was a seller, nor would I participate in the BPP.
    I think their are two types of people, one who will just simply lower their price and sell their property, as Invory pointed out, and second, people who delude themselves thinking that their house is worth more than what they actually think it is.
    To try and keep things simple, I would want to lower the price and move on to my next property, without complications of an escrow account. I see too many things that could go wrong. ie. Is there a dispute mechanism if both parties don’t agree on the price drop. Is there an appraisal? We all have had an appraisal that we did not agree with. Who determines the median prices in the local markets. Inside each local markets, there are many different compariables. Is your property being compared to the same property type? Condo vs condo or townhouse vs average price drop (which consists of all property types). I sure all of this is in the fine print.
    I have clients that count every last dollar, when they are selling and buying their next house, for someone to hold back 5% for a year, would just not be attractive option to them. Remember, most Canadian are holding record number of debt.
    This can cut both ways, you can be the hero recommending this program, or if things were to go wrong, as I mentioned above, you can be the goat, and could there be any legal action against you. That is a decision that everyone will have to decide for themselves.
    Ultimately, this is a program that will benefit referral partners, and I do think this is what BPP was intended for. (Sorry for the long winded post!)

  16. Thanks 2 cents. If your willing I could set up a meeting with one of our people so you can get all the answers to your great questions.
    No strings attached, I just want to ensure you the opportunity to see how we have covered all those bases. email patricia@doa180.ca and she can set that up for you :)

  17. How does the BPP work for a lender? Do they only finance based on the ‘protected’ price? It does raise some concerns with this program in that the buyer has he potential of receiving money back, while the lender is not and by consequence increasing their exposure to the property.
    Also, how is a ‘price drop’ determined?

  18. If fear is the biggest factor seems like we are sticking the fact real estate could be over priced right out front. So the buyer who is buying on emotion because they love the kitchen no have to think that the market may crash and maybe they should not buy at all. I doubt that in reality many real estate agents of brokers want to bring up the suggestion that real estate does not always go up and hardly want to put quantify it and create a bigger fear.

  19. The BPP is a very unique and innovative tool that will benefit all parties ~ and yes, this includes the seller. The seller has the opportunity to attract potential buyers simply by offering the program, but you will see once you take the time to listen to all the facts, that there will most often be times when it is simply negotiated out of the deal before it goes firm. I am in a part of the country where we are not yet seeing the effects of a downturn in the market, but the evidence of a changing time is in every community where listings are sitting, without showings. In order to get the market moving, or keep it moving, we need to have sales, and sales involve buyers. By offering a program like the BPP as a tool for the seller to attract buyers and a protection for the buyer in the event of a decrease in the 12 months after they buy, the realtor is doing the best for both sides.
    The other half of the BPP is the Inflation Hedge Strategy, which I haven’t seen mention of. It is an awesome program that has been around since long before the BPP came to light, and it’s implementation helps clients to save thousands more on their mortgage, while at the same time strengthening the relationships that brokers have with their clients.
    I can’t say enough about these two programs, and welcome anyone who is questioning the validity of either, to visit Greg’s websites and get the full story on the entire program. This article was great at highlighting some of the key features, but there is more to it than the just the cut-and-dry points we’ve seen discussed here.

  20. Like all potentially good things…..if the BPP product is used with the right purose in mind,…..as an honest hedge against a (potentially) falling Real Estate market, with a seller wishing to gamble by taking an additional 5% loss within a year after selling…..to push the buyer off the fence……and buy a home that they might not have purchased,…..ok…..makes sense.
    BUT, like all good things, they get abused. This is an easy target for that. It won’t take long for people to figure out that a selling price can be easily inflated by 5% and a new cash back program is born. Where do we go from here guys? 10% ??! This to me then becomes not much different than the inflated selling prices in “Oklahoma” schemes without a very regimented set of checks and balances. Where is the protection for the hi ratio insurer and the lender to ensure selling prices are at true market value at the time of sale? 3 independant appraisals maybe? Cost prohibitive perhaps….I’ve been a Mortgage Broker for over 18 years and a Realtor for over 20 years.
    This product with all it’s well intent, could turn into a potential disaster……..

  21. Our two lenders Merix and First National are enthusiastic supporters and promoters of this cutting edge program. Trust that they would do their due diligence. We have also had the program vetted through Genworth and Canada Guaranty to ensure their support from an underwriting perspective.
    YOu may want to talk with one of our people to get more of your answers covered in detail.
    patricia@doa180.ca

  22. As above, trust that Merix, First National our current participating lenders, we intend to add more shortly, have worked with their internal risk teams, and with their chosen insurance partner to do their due diligence.
    If a property is purposely over inflated the lender will not approve the loan, as they sometimes do now when their systems detect the home is not worth the price.
    As for using it to be a cash back scheme, I respectfully disagree. If there was ill intent to do this, the buyer would have to wait 12 months to get there money? Can’t see a seller and buyer scheming to do this, in addition, the program must be done through licenced Realtors, which means there would have to be a lot of people in on a scheme to defraud the intent of this program.

  23. These forums are great.. and I hope this post makes it past the moderators… The facts are accurate… my opinions are obvious..
    New ideas are needed if we want to improve…And I welcome new concepts and ideas… it’s how we all grow personally and financially…
    But this isn’t a new idea from Greg Williamson…
    It’s bringing back some deja vu. I’m sure I’ve seen this before….Ah yes, that’s right… I have…in late 2006 from Greg Williamson…
    Upon closer examination, we will notice some wording in the offer that reminded me of some other Services that were offered by Greg Williamson:
    “BPP makes money by charging member mortgage brokers a small per-listing fee ($19.95) and monthly membership fee ($180+ which also includes various sales coaching tools).”
    Does anyone recall CRS? A service that was offered in last 2006 by none other than Greg Williamson… here is the website http://www.mortgagebenefits.ca but it is no longer working…I wonder why?
    The service was supposed to help Mortgage Brokers approach large businesses and offer Employee mortgage services along with realtor referrals, free legal services (the realtor would pay CRS a 25% referral fee in return for your client referral and the legals would be paid from this fee). All calls would go through CRS and then would be handed back to the mortgage broker…for a fee, of course…
    Oh and by the way, it costs the mortgage broker $1,000 annual member fee just to join …AND there were additional costs to set up each Corporation into the referral program …..AND there was a cost per referral…
    You are reading this right… you give CRS YOUR referral contact and then CRS would charge YOU a fee for referrals….
    Needless to say, this program seemed to disappear… Somehow Greg convinced Mortgage Intelligence to promote this to their Agents in late 2006… if any agents participated in this, it sure would be great if you could share your experience here..
    And how about The Mortgage Training Group (TMTG)… we were supposed to be impressed by the ‘top mortgage brokers in Canada’.. they were doing the cross country tours to teach us their secrets of success.. and mortgage brokers could attend these seminars for $400 and $500 per day… and join TMTG for annual fee… there would be updated video tips from these coaches (like Greg and others) and we could be motivated and inspired…
    All sounded great.. but once it was sold to Filogix, and the cheques were paid out to the speakers, the training disappeared…
    So now we have 180Coaching… more training from and secrets of success…
    Hey, is anyone seeing a pattern here or is it just me?

  24. I agree that this forum is great and I think that this conversation may be out of place here.
    Joe, or anyone for that matter, if your willing I would welcome a call at 403-560-2354 to discuss your post further instead of going back and forth.
    I acknowledge the experience you had with other programs of mine is true for you, there may be some more information that’s missing that may balance the perspective.
    Alas, I wish every innovation I help bring to market worked fabulously; most do, some don’t, but we never stop pushing.
    Our community of mortgage professionals are supporting one another to play bigger in our lives and businesses.
    Look forward to chatting with you again Joe.

  25. Firstly, I’d like to suggest that everyone do their due-diligence first. Whether that be speaking to Greg directly, speaking to the members or for that matter, the National lenders that have jumped on board to support this innovative program.
    Here’s what I know, I can only speak from experience and my experience with Greg have been stellar.
    PS – 604-273-2002 if you’d like to chat
    To Your Success
    M

  26. uh, Greg, I don’t want your phone number.
    I think these, what did you call them?, ‘innovations’ worked well….at least for you, they did…
    Gotta hand it to you…some people will just keep drinking your kool-aid….. but hopefully this post will get others to ask a LOT of questions before writing any cheques…….
    Mark Fidgett, thanks for your input….guess we all have our opinions…
    Here’s a tip for anyone looking for the shortcuts or secrets of success…… there is no secret!
    Work hard, be honest to yourself, stay in contact with your clients as often as possible…. and keep up to date with your product knowledge, rules and regulations….build your client base and treat them with the utmost respect and always have their best intentions at heart… it will come across to your client…
    The rest is just smoke and mirrors folks….
    By the way, does anyone remember the profile that was done on Greg by CMP or CAAMP’s The Journal (can’t remember which magazine it was)…they quoted Greg as saying he ramped up his volume by paying realtors and referral sources… (I’m not quite sure what that exact amount of the referral fee was but it was really high)…
    Anyone that has been in business for any length of time knows that buying business is always a short term solution…it doesn’t place much value on your service…
    People, make up your own mind… maybe speak with some of the people that participated some of Greg’s other business ventures, oh wait, I mean ‘innovations’…
    Keeping it real…

  27. Hi Joe,
    Based on my limited knowledge of the program you’re referring to, there were serious issues involving the brokerage firm that bought it. Suffice it to say, it didn’t work out and I’d be upset too if I spent $1k.
    On the other hand, for every successful venture, twice as many (or more) fail. So we need to recognize that when drawing parallels between past and the future businesses.
    I’d agree with your statement about asking a lot of questions. Hence, with that in mind, let’s refocus the discussion on the merits of the BPP itself.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  28. Fair enough Rob… got off topic here a little…
    bottom line, look at the history and the patterns and then make your own judgments… thx for keeping the post up…

  29. I commend Greg on coming up the idea. In his competitive market, we need to be unique in our sales and marketing. Origin home financial had a program like this a few years ago that tanked and caused all sorts of problems.
    I could spend hours upon weeks explaining this to the small handful of realtors (that I would work with) that might buy into this. I can’t at all justify the monthly cost either. Yikes!
    I can bring more value and deals to my favorite realtors, by continuing to do what I do best – educate, inform and help them solve their issues.
    Work with passion, love your clients and treat your realtors kindness and understanding. Old school thinking still works in this new age of sales.

  30. Hi Lindsay, I admire the value you bring to your realtor partners. That’s what it’s all about. Keep it up :)
    As to the BPP, it was developed to address a problem. If there’s no problem and your realtor’s phone is ringing off the hook, they’re entertaining multiple offers & have buyers lined up, well, NO need for this program. The fact that many realtors are telling me that’s not the case and they’re indeed finding buyers sitting on the fence & seeing their listings linger, definitely makes them see the value of this program. I’ve had 5 realtors in the last 2 days send me emails asking how they can offer the program.
    As I said earlier, it may not be for you or your market and that’s all good.
    To your success : )
    M

  31. This is probably one of the worst ‘products’ I’ve ever seen. Seems the only beneficiary is the broker(s) collecting fees, because everyone else involved would be the victim of a poorly negotiated real estate transaction.

  32. Sorry if been asked before. Let’s say using above example, prices “fell” by 5% after I bought the house. Who determines this? Average price in area? Price in the city? Country?
    Why would any seller agree to this? Typically the seller needs the equity in their property for a down payment on a future property. What would I care if you bought my house and it went down? As someone said, the property I bought also went down, so my loss is double?
    Yeah, seems kind of shady.. A great idea perhaps on paper, but so was communism!

  33. Jake you miss the point. Buyer Protection Plan is simply a lower-risk alternative to a price drop, which you would have to offer the buyer anyway.
    The buyer and seller mutually agree to the price index used for comparison in 1 year. It is typically the MLS price for the same property type and area.
    There is nothing shady about it. Buyer Protection Plan is a creative marketing strategy and everything is fully disclosed to all parties.

  34. How does it make for a poorly negotiated real estate transaction? I would argue the exact opposite. Everyone benefits. The seller sells the property quicker, the buyer has price protection, the Realtor gets the sale, and the broker gets the mortgage business.
    P.S. Mortgage brokers don’t collect any fees at all for facilitating this program. That is inaccurate. Brokers actually pay to offer it to Realtors.

  35. Why do you have to offer a price drop? From what I understand, if I buy a house and have bpp, and average prices fall, I get 5% back (assuming a 5% drop). BUT – what I don’t get is – why am I buying that house for that price if I’m so concerned prices will fall? Also, why am I treating my home as a piece of stock (TSX) and not a home? Why do I care if in 1 year prices fall by 5%, what about in 15 years when I’m selling?
    What am I missing here?

  36. I love the innovative thinking but how healthy is ‘downside risk hedging’ for a real estate market (possibly) poised to decline?
    From reading this post it seems unanimous that this entire BPP concept would be useless in a hot market, so why encourage it in a cold market? If a price reduction is what’s required to make a deal happen, then so be it, the free hand at work.
    Technically, if a buyer and a seller cannot reach firm agreement on a sale price, then it’s not an ‘arm’s length’ transaction. The market should be determined by what buyers will confidently pay today. If buyers have to be coaxed into the market by a 5% ‘what if’ hold-back, then they are buying for the wrong reasons and should wait until prices come down.
    The program’s a great online revenue generator at $180 per month times x number of broker subscribers because that’s a sure thing. I do however feel that the concept is flawed from a client-betterment standpoint.
    Greg, full credit for coming up with the concept and getting it rolling. I would kill to closely examine how First Nat and Merix have evaluated the risk on this thing – you must have done a phenomenal job pitching them!
    Good Luck!

  37. Wow, Nice thought process for sure. You might want to tell that to ALL the powers that be around the world who are trying to stimulate the market.
    The fact that you get a LOT more than JUST the BPP for $180 reminds me of a comment I read today.
    How do you know what you don’t know, if you don’t know what you don’t know. ; )
    Mark

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