What’s in store for the role of the mortgage broker in the future?
Last month was an eventful one for CENTUM, with the broker network giant having announced two new high-profile appointments: Jeff Sampson (pictured top), returning to the company in the role of vice president, and Adrian Schulz (pictured below), who’s been named director of technology and tasked with spearheading the company’s advancements on the digital front.
Sampson, who has prior experience with the network on the sales side, told Canadian Mortgage Professional that the top priority of his new role was overseeing the company’s slate of new projects and initiatives, with its mortgage broker community central to those plans.
“My main focus is to continue to collaborate and focus on strategies and business discussions with our brokers,” he said, “finding out what they truly need, and what’s going to help them add more value to their brokerages and grow their businesses internally.”
The executive emphasized the role that technology and digital solutions were set to play in the future of the mortgage industry, with automation among the trends that he said would become increasingly prominent in the role of mortgage professionals.
“I personally think automation in the industry has been fast-tracked due to COVID,” he said, “because of the fact that everything has moved online, and become more digital.
“Our thought process at CENTUM is that we’re going to concentrate on what brokers need; we’re going to concentrate on hearing the feedback from our brokers and listening to them to truly know what it is that they want.”
Schulz, a mortgage agent with the network since 2019, said that its “technology-agnostic” approach – one that allows brokerages to use whichever mortgage origination platform or CRM they choose – would remain a central part of its ethos.
That policy is particularly important, he said, with open banking (a practice that allows third-party financial service providers to access consumer banking and transaction data) potentially coming down the tracks in Canada.
“‘Technology agnostic’ really fits into what the federal government is working on, open banking regulation,” he said.
“The government wants you to be able to freely apply for credit, and you do that by opening up the data pipes to allow the broker and lender to tie into the bank data and income data feed with the CRA, enabling you to get this super-fine-tuned experience for your client.”
In early August, the federal government released its final open banking report, with an advisory committee’s review on open banking recommending the establishment of a framework that safeguards and protects customers’ banking information.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said that striving towards a regulated system, developed in Canada, would “make sure that we continue to enjoy a strong, stable and innovative financial sector.”
While Schulz said that open banking is still around two years away from being implemented in Canada, he expressed the view that CENTUM’s approach to technology had left it well positioned to meet that coming revolution.
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“I think we’re the network that is so equipped for it, because we’re agnostic – and agnostic means open,” he said. “We’re sort of at the forefront – what I love about the network is that I’m free to do as I see fit for my business, and nothing is forced upon me.”
Sampson said that the network’s focus on the needs of brokers was particularly relevant given the increasing speed and convenience that prospective homebuyers seek in their search for mortgage products.
“If you look at the younger generation, none of them are doing anything unless it’s through their phones, their iPads, through technology,” he said. “Their focus is, ‘How quickly can I get the information?’
“[Mortgage professionals] need to capitalize on that opportunity. For that, there needs to be more digital innovation. Through digital innovation, comes more streamlined processes – being able to help clients get things quickly and transact quickly.”
Through digital solutions, Sampson said that mortgage professionals also have the ability to make their own work processes more efficient – ensuring that they can have more time to focus on what’s important to them, whether workwise or personally.
“The more productive you are on the technology side, and the more you streamline your processes, the more time that you save, and can spend quality time – whether in your business or with your family,” he said.
“That’s really important here at CENTUM. We’re trying to think of ways to create more productivity and profitability for our brokers – but at the end of the day, allow them to still feel like they have a life.”