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Mortgage Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship-Mortgage-BrokerPlumbers can’t get a licence without an apprenticeship.

Makes sense. You wouldn’t want a botched pipe job putting your house under water and costing you thousands.

The advice of a mortgage banker or broker could cost you just as much—if it’s bad.

That might make you wonder: Why is there virtually no legislation to ensure that bank reps and brokers have the practical knowledge to advise you properly?

We as brokers do have to write a licensing exam (depending on province). That, however, doesn’t prepare us to skillfully counsel you about:

  • term selection and suitability
  • mortgage restrictions
  • refinance analysis
  • mortgage portability rules
  • prequalifying with atypical income or credit
  • credit rebuilding
  • financing condition removal
  • porting default insurance
  • …and dozens of other mortgage topics where advice could cost (or save) you thousands.

Few things would boost our industry’s creditability more than practical training requirements. A 12- to 24-month apprenticeship under an experienced sponsoring broker would ensure new brokers have a minimum degree of competence when advising consumers.

At the moment, our industry relies on a system whereby someone who passes a background check, completes a licensing course, and joins a brokerage firm, can counsel you on a transaction worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Poor guidance generally goes unnoticed because, most of the time, customers don’t even know they’ve received bad advice.

Fortunately, the majority of practicing mortgage professionals are experienced and highly capable. But it takes time and a lot of mistakes (often at customers’ expense) before most new brokers have the skillset needed to be proficient.

Having a senior broker review and sign off on a new recruit’s applications for 12-24 months would be one way to help clients avoid paying for inexperience.

Rule of Thumb:  Never be afraid to ask your bank rep or broker:

  1. How long he/she has been a full-time mortgage professional
  2. How much volume he/she has closed in the last 12 months.

If the individual has been full-time less than a year or has closed less than $5 million of mortgages in the last 12 months, take extra care when evaluating their expertise.

Rob McLister, CMT