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Why use a Mortgage Broker

There was an article in the Globe and Mail recently entitled ‘Why use a mortgage broker?’.    No, this image wasn’t part of the article but it’s an image that many  will conjure up when we hear the word ‘Banker’.

The article talks about why Financial Planners and other professionals will recommend, and work with,  a Mortgage Broker vs. having the client go directly to the Bank.  Here’s a few quotes from the article that make it easy to understand.

  • “It’s the most efficient way to get the best-priced and best-structured mortgage”.
  • “So rather than shopping at multiple financial institutions and negotiating with each financial institution and arm wrestling them to give you the best deal, it’s one phone call and they do the rest for you.”

And here’s some facts from a Bank of Canada review published in February 2011 entitled ‘Competition in the Canadian Mortgage Market’:

  •  This one is no surprise…. “The results also indicate that borrowers who use a mortgage broker pay less, on average, than borrowers who negotiate with lenders directly”. 
  • Here’s one that may surprise many of you…  “The results also indicate that higher income households pay higher rates, on average, than lower-income households.”
  • And here’s another one…  “Banks also offer larger discounts to new clients than to existing clients.”

I’ll add a few more of my own….   A broker shops the market…doesn’t work for any one lender but instead works for the borrower….. and provides the borrower with clear, neutral and unbiased advice.    Brokers save borrowers money and will continue to shop for better rates at renewal and throughout the life of the mortgage…

A look back at Oct 2008 and the Bank’s kool-aid..

October 2008 will be remembered for a few reasons….. First, it was Obama’s rise to the presidency… the first black American president…. next, it was also the end of Lehman Brothers investment bank and the beginning of one of the biggest global recessions in modern history…

That’s how most of us will remember October 2008….. but  there was also another very memorable event that took place.  You see, it was around this time that I heard some borrowers were getting calls from their Bank to lock-in their Variable rate mortgages…. or to take a long term fixed rate mortgage to ‘protect themselves from the uncertainly’ that surrounded the markets at the time…. I warned mortgage borrowers to expect a call  from their Bank offering a ‘safer mortgage option’ or some ‘special offer’ to lock into a fixed rate or a long-term rate…and NOT to take such offers or deals….

Can you imagine a Bank advising or recommending that you lock in your Variable rate or to take a long-term Fixed rate at that time?    At the time, Variable rates were are at around 3.35% and 5 year fixed rates were at around 5.75%.   Uh, no thank you… I’ll pass on the bank kool-aid.

The funny thing about uncertainty is that it usually brings us lower interest rates…..not always, but during this time we knew the World Banks would work together to lessen the economic impact of the Lehman Brothers collapse.   Unfortunately, there were far too many borrowers that listened to their banker and locked into the much higher Fixed rates…

The moral of the story is that Bankers and their ‘Mortgage Specialists’ work for one company, one Bank… they can only offer you one set of products and MUST do what’s in the BEST interests of their BANK…. They have to drink the Bank koolaid….   Mortgage Brokers can offer the products from dozens of lenders and can also compare the benefits and differences between Banks… Remember to ask questions and opinions from neutral, unbiased professionals.

Don’t drink the kool-aid…