What follows are some of the more notable findings from that survey (our comments in italics):
53% of brokers said they do less than 20% of their volume with banks.
That seems counterintuitive. Banks have the top three spots for broker market share, and command 57% of all broker volume, according to D+H.
According to brokers, the most important traits of a lender were:
Approval turnaround time (34% cited this)
Underwriter support (23% cited this)
Overall service level (21% cited this)
Only 7% of brokers named “interest rates” as the most important lender trait.
As mortgages become easier to compare on the Internet and competition gets fiercer, that 7% figure will rise. It’s also somewhat skewed by the fact that 67% of respondents have been in the business for more than five years. At the risk of generalizing, many older brokers have more established clientele, don’t have to fight as hard for business, and can better sell around rate. Newer tech-savvy brokers (who track what’s being quoted online) often tend to be more rate-aggressive.
Merix Financial ranked highest for having the lowest rates.
Merix does lead the market at times. However, these rankings clearly did not account for all “status rates.” National Bank of Canada, for example, ranked 7th, despite having among the best rates of any top 10 lender (if you’re an “MVP” status broker).
Banks dominated the “product range” category, with FirstLine (a division of CIBC), Scotia, and National Bank ranking highest.
Product selection matters because clients have a wide range of qualification requirements. Some lenders try to get by selling only a single competitive term (i.e., a 5-year fixed). That’s like walking into Foot Locker and seeing only one style of shoe. You’re going to drastically limit your business.
It’s hard to be a market share leader without a HELOC, equity program, good rental program, and/or other non-insured products. Banks have the edge in this respect.