Despite a nearly 50-year history in Canada, Mortgage Investment Corporations—or MICS—still remain relatively unknown among many brokers and borrowers alike.
But for the past several years, Mortgage Professionals Canada and the Ontario Mortgage Investment Companies Association (ONMICA) have partnered to try and change that.
They jointly host the annual MIC Trade Show and Seminar, which brings together brokers and several dozen exhibitors and speakers to increase awareness about MICS and the products they offer for today’s borrowers.
The way MICs work is, money is pooled by shareholders and then lent out in the form of residential and commercial mortgages, with all of the net profits then distributed back to the investors.
Since the introduction of new underwriting rules in recent years, some brokers can see MICs comprising as much as 20% of their business mix, says Dong Lee, Chief Operating Officer of DLC Group of Companies and Chair of the MPC Board of Directors.
“It’s important that brokers know who their MIC partners are–more importantly, who are the reputable MIC lenders,” he told CMT, noting that those associated with ONMICA are vetted before being granted membership. “Finding a suitable mortgage for your customer means you need to know what products are available by lender. What better way than to meet over 20 lenders virtually in one afternoon?”
A Completely Digital MIC Trade Show
Given the renewed lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic, this year’s event is going 100% digital.
The trade show will feature an interactive show floor, allowing visitors to access detailed information from each booth, while also being able to chat and interact live.
Among the seminars will be “The New Normal: How MICs Adapt to Changes in Mortgage Tech,” by AJ Poulin of The Mortgage Office, this year’s title sponsor. Other topics include how to start a MIC, regulation related to MICs and broker perspectives on the advantages of dealing with a MIC.
Learning about MICs and the various niche mortgage products they offer can be overwhelming, particularly for new brokers, says Diana Soloway, a founding member of ONMICA, which represents 34 MICs across Ontario.
“We represent everything from agricultural residential mortgages to urban, suburban, high-rise, low-rise, large-dollar mortgages and small,” she told CMT. “We are trying to provide as much information and transparency about our own organizations to make it easier for the mortgage brokers, and for the main compliance person to know who their agents are dealing with.”
Lee said the goal is continued education, both for new brokers and those who simply need a refresher. “Like most things, people need a constant refresher. Education and awareness isn’t achieved through a singular event, and therefore we keep trying to organize events like this so we can continue to educate our brokers.”
MICs have seen steady growth over the years, with between 200 and 300 operating across the country holding approximately $15 billion in mortgage debt, according to CMHC data.
Soloway added that one of ONMICA’s objectives is to raise broker awareness about the MIC space by bridging the knowledge gap relating to the types of mortgage products offered by specific MICs.
“We’re very proud of what we do and we’re very transparent about what we do,” she said. “We want more questions and we want more people searching for the products that are the most suitable for their clients.”
One recent undertaking was the addition of a directory on the association’s website outlining the various niche products available by lender.
“We’re going to consistently work on that and help mortgage brokers get to where they need to go as efficiently as possible.”
The trade show and seminar takes place Tuesday, January 19, 2021, from 12-4 p.m. Spots are still available, and those who register will be mailed a free swag bag (limited availability). The cost of registration is $25 (plus tax) for MPC members and $60 for non-members.
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