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AMPWhen people deal with mortgage brokers they want to know that they’re competent. But it’s hard to assess that if you don’t know a broker well.

That’s where industry accreditations come in. A credible industry designation shows that a broker has met minimum standards of proficiency and professionalism.

Canada’s most common mortgage designation is the Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP), established by CAAMP in 2004. In the opinion of many, however, (including this author) the bar for getting those three letters behind your name has never been high enough.

That’s about to change.

Effective July 1 the AMP is undergoing a wholesale transformation. It’s the third major revision of the designation since its inception.

Earning an AMP designation will now require:

  1. Completion of a regulator-approved licensing education course
    • For provinces without current mandatory agent/associate licensing courses (New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland/Labrador and Nova Scotia), brokers will have to meet educational requirements equivalent to a province with such standards.
  2. A valid mortgage agent/broker licence
  3. Completion of a National Competency Exam
    • This new test will be administered by the University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business.
    • People will take the exam in-person in proctored facilities.
    • Subjects include underwriting, product knowledge, ethics, professional conduct, mortgage suitability assessment, regulations, compliance, and so on.
    • It’ll have a 70% passing score with multiple choice, short answer and essay-style questions.
  4. A minimum of two years’ industry experience
    • CAAMP is wisely bringing back this requirement after instituting exceptions to it in 2010. Letting brokers qualify without two years of experience weakened barriers to entry and drastically diluted the AMP’s perceived value.
  5. A minimum of 24 closed mortgages per year
    • Brokers will need their employer to attest that they’ve closed a minimum of 24 deals per year in the past two years. CAAMP may confirm this with lenders as well.
    • Supervisory brokers can qualify if they’ve overseen 100+ deals per year for the past two years.
    • This one change alone will be a profound difference maker in the AMP. Mortgage professionals all know what mistakes can happen in this business as novices. Now, at long last, consumers and lenders will know that an AMP broker has a standard amount of experience.
  6. Two letters of recommendation
    • One must be from a lender and one from the candidate’s employer.
    • One of the two must be from an AMP member.
  7. A signed annual attestation
    • This will confirm, among other things, that: (a) mortgage brokering is the individual’s primary line of work (no more accredited moonlighters), (b) he/she meets CAAMP ethics standards and (c) the broker has closed 24+ deals in the past 12 months.
  8. Errors and omissions insurance
  9. The completion of 12 continuing education credits every year

Items 1-8 above are either brand new requirements or they’ve been reinstated. These qualification criteria raise the AMP’s barriers to entry significantly and solidify its credibility. That should draw back some of the brokers who have been disenfranchised with the AMP in the past.