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A New Mortgage Awards Night

Red carpetThe movie business has a lot of big industry-wide awards nights: the Golden Globes, Oscars and People’s Choice, for example. But Canada’s mortgage business has had just one: CMP’s Canadian Mortgage Awards…until now.

The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) has announced its first-ever general awards ceremony for the broker channel. It’s set for April 10, 2014.

To the extent that these awards encourage brokers and lenders to better serve customers and their communities, it’s terrific news. The points that follow should not take away from that. But here were a few observations that jumped out at us:

  • The Industry Angle: CAAMP’s announcement stated: “It’s finally here, an awards night for the industry from the industry.” Many in the brokerage world seem to take comfort in our trade association running the show. VERICO Canada, for example, is one of many supporters of CAAMP’s new awards. As its COO John Kelly explained today: “CAAMP and the provincial associations can be conceivably credible, impartial and neutral stewards of an industry awards program.”
  • Criticisms with the Status Quo: “This initiative is being created at the behest of members,” said CAAMP’s Past Chair Boris Bozic in the press release. Our guess is that this stems from some people’s criticism of Canadian Mortgage Professionals (CMP) awards, due to CMP’s:
    • Determination of recipient categories (Some feel CMP’s awards ignore small-town brokers, are too biased by broker volume and pooling, and are not sufficiently reflective of expertise, tenure and contributions to the industry.)
    • Winner selection process (Awards in our industry are sometimes seen as a popularity contest. We’ve heard many a broker accuse large brokerages of stacking the nominations.)
    • Cost to attend or sponsor.

In fact, certain industry members (e.g., Mortgage Alliance) refuse to be nominated for CMP awards. “Many of the top brokers don’t even want to play (the game),” says Mortgage Alliance CEO Michael Beckette. But CAAMP CEO Jim Murphy maintains, “Members who encouraged CAAMP to take on this endeavour did so not out of discontent. Our members believe both (events) can co-exist and thrive.”

  • CMPDollars and Cents: From what we gather, the CMP awards are fairly profitable. Revenue generation had to be in the minds of CAAMP’s organizers as well. But Murphy notes, “CAAMP is a not for-profit organization. This is not being done to make a profit. Any revenue earned from hosting such an event will be reinvested in programs/services that benefit all CAAMP members such as education, the Accredited Mortgage Professionals (AMP), financial literacy, government relations/advocacy efforts and our ongoing research with Maritz.”
  • One-Channel Representation: In its announcement, CAAMP said the awards are for those demonstrating “significant commitment and support to Canada’s mortgage broker channel.” CAAMP is obviously broker-centric, but it would have been nice to bring our industry together and also recognize accomplished and deserving mortgage professionals from banks and credit unions. Despite the political ramifications, this could have furthered CAAMP’s goal of being viewed as the credible voice of Canada’s mortgage industry. That status would be strengthened if it encompassed the entire mortgage industry.
  • Another Event: As Kelly accurately notes, “There are a lot of events vying for the…attention of lenders’ and brokers’ eyes and pockets…including provincial events, national events, broker events and company events.” Many in our business are tired of sponsoring and travelling to yet another event. Here’s to hoping that CAAMP schedules future awards ceremonies adjacent to existing conferences.

CMP tries hard and puts on a good show with the Canadian Mortgage Awards. But, despite the comments above, CAAMP’s entrance into the Awards game can’t help but ensure that more players are recognized for making a better mortgage market.

Rob McLister, CMT

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