FirstLine Enhances its Status Program

firstlineA broker’s competitiveness depends largely on achieving “status” with one or more lenders. Status arms brokers with faster service, greater compensation, and/or better rates.

FirstLine, a division of CIBC and one of Canada’s largest broker-channel lenders, has just announced noteworthy improvements to its status program, effective today.

Shane Lapointe, VP Sales Western Canada for FirstLine, tells us, “We wanted to reward our existing brokers shane-lapointebetter and we wanted to reach out to new brokers. We're trying to grow our base.”

He says FirstLine has additional new programs coming out by February. “We want to be the #1 broker lender and the broker advocate.”

Here’s a quick overview of FirstLine’s status improvements:

  • It now takes 17-50% less POINTS to hit status levels at FirstLine, depending on the level. Lapointe says this improvement now "aligns units with dollars” so it’s easier for brokers in lower-priced markets to attain status. That’s important, he says, because "units show loyalty.” (FirstLine lets you reach status via dollar volume of closed mortgages or by collecting POINTS. See below.)
  • The entry-level threshold for status is now $5 million in closed mortgages or 25,000 “POINTS”. (Before it was $10 million or 100,000 points.) This level is called “Silver” and it gets brokers an extra 5 bps off FirstLine’s discounted rates.
  • Gold status (which gets you Silver benefits plus a dedicated underwriter and appraisal rebate) can now be reached with 50,000 POINTS instead of 100,000.
  • Platinum status (the sweet spot since it gets brokers 10 bps off discounted rates) can now be reached with 125,000 POINTS instead of 200,000.
  • Emerald Status (which offers a 50,000 BasisPOINT credit and a bigger appraisal rebate) can now be reached with $50 million in volume or 250,000 POINTS (instead of $75 million or 300,000 POINTS)

The takeaway is that it’s now easier for brokers to get perks and better pricing from one of Canada’s biggest lenders.

Lapointe says FirstLine’s Silver level can now be attained with “less than two deals a month.” Moreover, "throughout the year we do double-POINTS,” he adds. That makes status achievement even easier.

How FirstLine POINTS work:

  • Brokers receive POINTS with every FirstLine mortgage they close. A 5-year fixed pays 1050 points, for example, if the broker submits a full package (all documents) within 10 days.
  • Assuming an average of 1050 points per deal, it would take a broker about 4 deals a month to hit Gold status.
  • To achieve Gold status by volume, you’d need to close an average of $833,333 worth of mortgages per month. FirstLine’s average mortgage amount is approximately $250,000 nationwide says Lapointe.

Robert McLister, CMT

  1. It is good for the industry to make better rates available to lower status levels. If brokers are more competitive overall it brings more volume to the channel.
    I also think it’s wise for FirstLine to widen its base because many of its biggest brokers aren’t so young anymore. Catering to high volume brokers is fine – until half your brokers retire.

  2. Most status programs are pretty similar except for volume levels. I’m curious which lenders you think have more “creative” programs?

  3. I would hope they improve their turnaround time before trying to take on more business. The fact that supporting documents have to be faxed is quite archaic. I sent one of their underwriters a 2 megabytes PDF and she said I clogged her inbox! That’s quite pathetic considering they’re backed by a major bank. Time to take notes from MCAP’s Professor module. By making qualification for status easier, they’re trying to gain traction to hit the top spot now that they’ve been “dethroned” by SMA.

  4. in response to meh- we have been long time firstline supporters, we don’t send all of our business to them but maybe 40% to 60% based on the year and to say that it copy cats is funny to hear- not sure where you have been the last 10 years but they were the ones that pretty much created the points/loyalty programs/status programs that everyone else has copied.
    I do think Firstline has definately lost a bit of their shine the past few years based on some questionable decisions and changes in management, i do see that there have been some pretty big improvements the past 6 months in all areas.

  5. I don’t do business with them. They compete with me here with the Mortgage Centres and Home Loans Canada and the CIBC branches on every other corner. It all comes out of the CIBC pocket.
    I just as soon give my business to MCAP or First National, they don’t compete with me and as long as the rate is low.

  6. FirstLine absolutely should be focusing on their underwritting and funding depts. They have been in a downward spiral for the longest time and they do not treat their loyal agents and brokers properly. Their turn around time is horrible in the winter and even worse in the summer regardless if you’re “Burgandy” or “Platinum”. They need to train their u/w on how to underwrite a deal and read documents, think outside the box and take care of management. All their staff is overworked, undertrained and it’s not fair to anybody, especially brokers and clients.

  7. Firstline is a key lender of ours because its rates and products are among the best in the industry. I think they know what they need to do to regain their #1 position in the broker channel. The proof will come this spring when we can judge their rates and turnaround times.

  8. Looks like an attempt to regain top spot in the broker channel, but then again it is business, so why not? Glad they have lowered the bar for entry levels.

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