Mortgage Forum 2015Mortgage Forum 2015, the nation’s largest mortgage convention, has come to a close.

It’s been an active three days of learning, seeing old faces, recognizing industry leaders and digesting ample food and drink.

Like usual, however, our favourite part of the event is trolling the expo floor. That’s where you see what’s new and innovative with the country’s mortgage lenders and suppliers.

If we had to name just one product trend this year, it would be non-prime bundle mortgages (i.e., combined first and second mortgages) to 85% loan-to-value. This year we counted no less than seven lenders advertising bundles.

But there was lots more to talk about. Here are some of the other highlights…

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  • B2B Bank:  Is offering a business-for-self (BFS) mortgage that requires 12 months of bank statements and an NOA for income validation. It has no fees, competitive rates and goes to 80% LTV (75% on rental properties).
  • Bridgewater Bank:  Offers rental financing to BFS applicants, up to 80% LTV, from B.C. to Ontario.
  • Brookfield:  Has a new way to keep in touch with clients, called the House Price Tracker. This subscription service (which will launch as a free beta) lets brokers provide clients with a monthly e-newsletter that updates them on the value of their home.
  • Centum:  Is giving a new Fiat 500 (prepaid lease) to brokers who sign up for a new franchise.
  • CMLS:  Has its online customer portal launching in January.
  • DUCA Financial:  Is working towards becoming the nation’s first cooperative bank. That should permit expansion throughout Canada, potentially lowering its cost of funds and broadening its mortgage distribution.
  • D+H:  Is launching “Broker Workspace” in the first quarter. It’s a broker web interface that offers faster deal searching and extensive deal reporting and statistics. Brokers can set it as their landing page to show their most recent deals and/or those submitted by their sub-agents. The company is also adding a drop-down menu so brokers can choose a lender and product (if supported by the lender) and auto-populate key application data pertaining to that product. The benefit: saving brokers data-entry time and validating applications against basic lender guidelines.
  • Equitable Bank:  Offers interest-only HELOCs up to 80% LTV on rentals. They come with a linked credit card, but are (sadly) only available behind an Equitable Bank first mortgage.
  • First National:  Now offers 30-year amortizations on rental applications.
  • Ginko MIC:  Has a bundle to 85% LTV starting at 7.99% with a 1% fee. It offers interest-only payments and is open after 3 months. Clients can renew for just a $1,300 renewal fee (which isn’t too bad for a private “B” lender).
  • HomEquity Bank:  Has already certified 1,100 brokers to sell reverse mortgages directly. Its average broker-originated reverse mortgage is $260,000 versus $115,000 company-wide. It has no commission limits for brokers, regardless of deal size.
  • Home Trust:  Is launching a broker portal and status program in January. Top brokers will enjoy larger compensation, faster service, sponsorship dollars, trips and renewal fees. The company will also offer customizable co-branded marketing content for clients. We demo’d the broker portal and it’s pretty slick, complete with document uploading, underwriter messaging and deal status tied to each individual deal.
  • IC Savings:  Is offering a non-prime one-year bundle mortgage to 85% LTV in the Toronto area. They start at 4.99% with a 1% fee.
  • ICICI:  Will be offering its legal package a la carte instead of bundling it free on all refinances. That will allow it to reduce its rates.
  • Manulife: As reported a few weeks ago, Manulife is getting ready to ramp up mortgage distribution in the broker channel. Among the products it’s considering for brokers are a Manulife One (M1) credit line for:
    • Commercial properties like storefronts or office buildings (it would be 65% LTV maximum with a limit of 50% LTV in the revolving interest-only LOC)
    • Self-employed borrowers without traditional income documentation
    • Senior borrowers who deposit their pensions into the M1 account (this looks like a reverse mortgages substitute as the payments on the LOC can be capitalized—i.e., made from the LOC itself. The benefit: borrowers could save a lot versus traditional reverse mortgage rates. Our take: Manulife will have to assure seniors that it will never call in the LOC if it’s being paid as agreed.)
  • Merix Financial:  Just launched a non-prime mortgage called Lendwise NPX. Target clients include those who are self-employed without traditional income documentation, have credit problems, or are in arrears on their existing mortgage. It goes up to 80% LTV with rates in the mid-4% range and up for poor credit clients, and 3.79% and up for better clients.
  • RMG:  Now has a “New to Canada” mortgage.
  • TD Canada Trust:  Launched the TD Credit Protection (TD CP) referrals program which allows brokers to earn fees on life and critical illness insurance. The broker completes a referral form, has the customer sign it and the broker then faxes the form to TD’s Insurance Call Centre Group. They contact the client directly by phone to discuss the insurance options. Note: Contrary to our earlier report, which was based on CMP’s article, there is no branch involvement in this process.
  • TMG The Mortgage Group:  Is considering launching a payroll service available to brokers outside of TMG.
  • University of British Columbia:  Offers new nationally focused courses for folks wanting to improve their brokering skills and/or needing CE credits for the AMP. More info here.