CMBA-BC conference welcomes industry 'All Stars' in Vancouver

Find out what happened on the opening day…

CMBA-BC conference welcomes industry 'All Stars' in Vancouver

The Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association – BC got its annual conference off to a flying start in Vancouver yesterday (April 15), welcoming mortgage professionals from across the province and beyond to a packed JW Marriott Parq on the opening day.  

Billed as an “All Stars” event, the full-day conference and trade show saw some of the industry’s leading figures take to the stage to share perspectives on the current outlook and latest trends.

After a keynote presentation by author Dr Robert Hanley-Dafoe to open proceedings, a panel of mortgage pros with noteworthy personal stories – Rebecca Casey, Christine Buemann, Jewels Ferris, Christian Amurao, and Russell Morrison – shared their experiences with resilience and overcoming adversity.

Kyle Green, of the Green Mortgage Team, delivered a presentation on the current status of the fixed vs. variable rate question, before an update from regulators on what brokers need to keep in mind about upcoming changes to the Mortgage Services Act (MSA).

B-lending, private solutions in the spotlight

The day’s final panel – chaired by Filogix’s Ryan Spence (pictured top) saw B-lending and mortgage investment corporation (MIC) executives gather to provide insight into the complexities and most important aspects of their space for the broker community.

That space has seen a surge in popularity in recent years amid ever-tightening regulatory requirements among A lenders and steep affordability challenges for scores of borrowers.  

Evanka Grant, of Equitable Bank, spoke to the stigma sometimes associated with reverse mortgages – but advised brokers to address the “elephant in the room” head on, noting important differences between the US and Canadian reverse mortgage markets.

“People have memories. They watch TV, they see what’s happening down in the US. But Canada is different,” she said. “We don’t have horror stories. You don’t turn on the news and hear about a reverse mortgage problem like in the US, where there’s people standing at the door with a foreclosure notice.

“In Canada, you’re getting money in a regulated way and we don’t overexpose [the borrower] – they’re not going to get more than 59% loan to value. Every transaction requires ILA [Independent Legal Advice] and that’s for their protection and suitability.”

Community Trust’s Sarb Uppal said the knowledge, experience and expertise of brokers were essential components of the alternative lending experience for borrowers.

“When you’re dealing with a client, [they’re often fearful] of sharing information – whether it be their credit scores, or if they’re going through life events, whether it be a job loss or bankruptcy, or whether it be a divorce,” he said.

“Oftentimes, they’re focused so much on their current events, they want an expert… At the end of the day, they need your expertise.”

It’s up to the mortgage community, Uppal added, to convey to borrowers that alternative lending can provide a valuable solution in cases of unplanned life events where traditional financing isn’t an option. What’s more, “it is usually just a blip,” he added. “And you do see them get to a better spot.”

What should brokers be focusing on in the private space?

First Circle Financial’s Jason Parlee said strong and positive relationships with MICs were essential for brokers in providing a rounded and comprehensive range of solutions for their clients.

“Using a MIC – I think that’s really important these days as a broker to have in your repertoire,” he said. “Good, solid relationships not only with your main lender, your alternative lender. But I think it’s just imperative to have a relationship with a MIC lender and really understand who they are, what they do, and what options they bring to you and your client.

“It’s not always about the terms, the rate, the fee. It’s often really about finding a solution that makes sense for the client.”

Dimitri Kosturos (pictured below) of VWR Capital Corp. also highlighted brokers’ important role in walking their clients through the alternative lending process.

“I think it’s important that brokers, agents, really remember that we have two years with the client. So we really have to listen and establish that relationship with our clients so that they understand, we can figure out what their needs actually are,” he said.

“They may just be zeroed in on, ‘I need A financing.’ But what do they actually need, and how do we get them there? Am I listening, can I hear what they’re saying? Do I understand it? And do I trust myself to provide that service? Part of trusting yourself is also knowing the product.”

CMBA-BC’s conference continues in Vancouver tomorrow.

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