BIG FIVE BANKS employees speak out about deplorable sales tactics… and it’s gone viral!

A news story from CBC has gone viral.   The BANK employees are under tremendous pressure to sell YOU products.  They will say and do almost anything, according to the CBC news article.

For those of us working in Financial Services, this is old news.   Stories of high pressures sales and tied selling has been going on for over two decades.   Sales targets were introduced to the retail branch network in the ’90s.  It was the beginning of a new sales culture.  Prior to this, bank tellers and account managers had always worked with a ‘soft sell’ approach.  They were there to help and service your needs.  This was about to change forever.

Your bank teller is now scanning your financial profile to see if they can up sell you some bank product.   Last week, my son and I were in the TD Bank and they informed my son he was preapproved for a TD Visa card..  of course, there was a small annual fee… so we can add to the BANK’s $billion profits!

Now we are seeing Mobile Mortgage Reps working for Banks.  They come to your home or business.  They are paid on a commission basis.   Think about it. How can anyone expect them to be unbiased?   They can only sell you one brand and one range of products.  Are all mortgage products the same?   They can never truly provide neutral advice or recommend other brands.

It will be interesting to see if this issue gets swept under the rug or if it will become a big stink.  The BIG FIVE BANKS rank in the top EIGHT largest corporations in Canada.  And last year, RBC was the first Canadian corporation to report over $10billion in net profit.

Hmm, I wonder how they make all that money, year after year, after year, after year.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

BIG SIX BANKs report obscene RECORD $34billion in profits for 2015…and still complaining!

greedy banker It’s that time of the year again..  The Banks have to report their annual profits.. And no surprise, the BIG SIX BANKS are at it again..

RBC reported a $10billion annual profit for 2015.  This is the first time a Canadian company reported an annual $10billion profit.  Yet, at the same time, they are crying the blues and warning of troubled times ahead. (uh, that’s the same speech they’ve made for the past 10 years.. here’s a 2013 headline).  GIVE ME A BREAK!!!  Canadians aren’t buying it anymore..

Check out the obscene profits pulled in by the rest of the BIG SIX BANKS..

Read the rest of this entry »

RBC accused of terminating Canadian workers in place of cheaper, foreign labor.

RBC-Bank RBC reported a record $7.5billion profit in 2012.  big newsThat was up by 17% from 2011.  Not bad.  In fact, all the BIG SIX BANKs had a great 2012… with a combined record profit of 30 billion!.   There’s nothing wrong with profit.  All businesses should expect to make a reasonable profit.   And a healthy and profitable banking system is important for Canadians.  Our Banks are so big that 5 of the top 8 most profitable corporations are now Banks.

But when is it enough?  And how far will the BIG SIX BANKs go to increase their profits?   Would you believe that Canadian Banks could or would outsource work to foreign countries to save a buck?!    CBC News reports that RBC is terminating 45 IT systems support jobs and replacing them with foreign workers.   iGATE corp. is an outsourcing corp from India with over 27,000 employees, according to their website. Read the rest of this entry »

Mortgage wars end?…only for the BIG SIX Banks…

March 29th, 2012 is going to be remembered as the day when the BIG SIX Banks ended their Mortgage War.   Well, at least for now.  Rates are up around 0.50% at Retail Branches of the BIG SIX  Banks.  (don’t worry, Mortgage Broker rates haven’t gone up that much and are lower than any of the so-called discounted or special rates advertised by the BIG SIX Banks.)

In what was an unprecedented, public fight for your mortgage, the BIG SIX Banks pulled down their pants and showed how low they can really go with their rates.   We saw BMO come out with their 2.99% NO FRILLS mortgage… ( a product we wouldn’t recommend to anyone due to it’s restrictions, limitations and penalty calculations).    Unfortunately, too many borrowers don’t look beyond the rate and have signed on for this product..   They will have to deal with the consequences in the years to come.

RBC fired back with a pretty good rate of 2.99% for 4 years… It didn’t have the restrictions or limitations but it still had that unfair penalty calculation.   RBC also took some public shots at the BMO product, through the media and their own website.   It was great to see some real competition take place among our BIG BANKS.    There is always a winner in this war.   You the borrower.

TD, Scotiabank, National Bank and CIBC all followed with a similar 4 year fixed rate at 2.99%.   But they still had that same penalty calculation formula I absolutely don’t like.

Canadian lenders appear to be extremely slow to pass on changes in the Bank Rate to their customers.”  Anyone remember that quote?  That’s a direct quote from the Bank of Canada review entitled ‘Competition in the Canadian Mortgage Market’.

Here’s another one from the same report “borrowers who use a mortgage broker pay less, on average, than borrowers who negotiate with lenders directly”.

The good news about all this rate war stuff is that we saw even better mortgage products being offered through the Mortgage Broker channel.  Remember these quotes the next time you are shopping for a mortgage.

Major lender cuts out self-employed and new immigrant lending programs

THE SKY IS FALLING AT CIBC?

On Tuesday, CIBC’s wholesale lending arm, Firstline Mortgages, announced drastic changes to their lending policies.   They will no longer participate in self-employment and new-immigrant lending programs.  These programs made it possible for Canada’s growing self-employed and new-immigrants to get a mortgage at discounted interest rates.

click here for The Star’s report featuring some of own personal comments.

HERE’S WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The move by Firstline seems to have come immediately after 2 recent reports…  First, CMHC said they are reaching their $600billion cap limit on the amount of mortgages CMHC can insure.   Currently sitting at $541billion, as of the end of 2001.  (I think this is the real reason for Firstline’s lending changes.. a more thorough explanation is below).   But next, a Bloomberg news report was released, earlier this week quoting a 152 page OSFI report (by the way, I searched OSFI and couldn’t find that report).   The article drew comparisons between the US sub-prime mortgage lending and Canada’s self-employed and new immigrant lending programs.

Let’s get something straight… Canadian lending policies are NOT like the US sub-prime policies.  Not even close!  The US sub-prime mortgages were granted to people with poor credit history, they lent up to 125% of the value of the home, amortizations went up to 50 years, they offered interest only payments, appraisals were not always required, they offered low interest teaser rates for 1 to 2 years, they offered Variable rate mortgages with no payment adjustment even if rates went up….  We don’t have theses features or options in Canada…. To suggest that our lending practices are similar is not accurate and has to be corrected…or proven… (there was time when similar mortgages were made available to Canadians this only lasted a few years from 2006-08 and this only accounted for less 5% of all mortgages during these years)

In Canada, we have much stricter lending policies that is in keeping with our conservative reputation….. And let’s not forget, the Fed govt has made 3 major changes in the past 3 yrs… making it tougher to qualify for a mortgage.

-maximum amortization reduced to 30 years maximum.  -refinances were cut to 85%  loan to value.  -business for self without traditional income confirmation will need to put 10% down payment, instead of 5%.

We really don’t need any more tightening.  The record low interest rates are helping to drive the real estate market.  Once rates go up, the values will level off and maybe even drop.

And by the way, if you think this is a small segment of the population, guess again.   The Canadians Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP), estimates that 13% of the country is self-employed.    (to further clarify, a self-employed person is anyone that is paid in full and then must deduct and pay their own income taxes.)   Being able to reduce your taxable income is part of the benefit of being self-employed…Remember, these people don’t have pension plans and usually don’t qualify for Unemployment insurance…  

New immigrants are a big part of what has made our country the best place in the world, to live in.   In 2010, there were over 250,000 new immigrants that came to Canada.   These are people, anxious to work, wanting a better life…..wanting to spend and borrow…helping our economy grow.   And as a former Senior Lending Manager with a major bank, I can attest to the fact that granting new immigrants a mortgage has always been considered a low risk loan.   Most new immigrants would give up their right arm, before not paying their mortgage.

BANKS HAVE TAPPED INTO CMCH PORTFOLIO INSURANCE FOR YEARS

You bought a house, you put down 20% or 25% and you didn’t have to pay CMHC or Genworth hi-ratio mortgage insurance.  Congrats…!  But did you know that your mortgage might still be CMHC or Genworth insured?   That’s right.  Banks and other financial institutions have been buying and paying for CMHC insurance through portfolio insurance.  This makes the mortgage a secure investment for the Banks.  If you default, the loan is guaranteed by CMHC, a Crown corporation.  Soveriegn debt.  You can’t get any more secure than than.   It also takes the mortgage off the Bank’s books and frees up more capital for other investments.

Here’s a thought… CMHC is a Crown corp that is there to help Canadians own a home… well, maybe they should take a look at the % of mortgages that are 85% loan to value or higher…this number isn’t as high as you might think.

Remember these stats from January 2011?

-there are 12.5million households in Canada…31% rent, 69% own..

-of the 69% that own, 39.9% have a mortgage and 28.9% have no mortgage.

-69% of homeowners with a mortgage have more than 20% equity in their homes… only 30% have less than 20% equity in their homes.

And we also know that last year, the total outstanding mortgage balance in Canada topped $1trillion for the first time in history….. You could say that CMHC has a very well secured book of business….

Come on CMHC, let’s make insurance available for those Canadians that need it…  it seems the Banks have found a way to eliminate all their risk when it comes to lending money…but we know they keep all the rewards and profits (how else do you explain $billion profits through the 2008-09 recession and beyond)   Maybe it’s time to increase that $600billion limit… There doesn’t appear to be any arrears problem with mortgages either… last I heard, we were at around 0.43% for mortgages in arrears more than 90 days.

Mortgage Fraud statistics are a mystery in Canada

Here is a good article from McLean’s Magazine that talks about more Mortgage Fraud taking place in Mississauga and other parts of Canada.

But before you read any further, just make sure you understand something… during an economic downturn, we will hear and see more crime related reports…. I’m not sure fraud has increased more or if the fraud can no longer hide behind rising house prices and stable employment…

One of the big mysteries is that we don’t know how much mortgage fraud really takes place in Canada.  That’s because no statistics are available…or at least are not made public.

The McLean’s article said the Canadian Bankers Association says they have no stats on mortgage fraud… and CMHC said that ‘it wasn’t able to provide that data prior to the article being published’…..  Come on…  no one has these statistics???  Then how do we know fraud is a problem??   Clearly, the Bank’s obligation is to it’s shareholders… and reporting any type of fraud could affect the value of the shares….discretion is always exercised when talking about taboo subjects like fraud.  Some have suggested it’s an acceptable cost of the mortgage business… after all, there are over $940 billion in outstanding mortgages in Canada.

Earlier this year, we saw a high profile case with BMO filing charges of mortgage fraud naming hundreds of people… the fraud was for $140 million and could cost the bank $30 million in losses.

Then in June, a report came out from the BC govt that slammed RBC and BMO for loose lending practices….  what made this report somewhat funny is that during this same week, RBC received an award for Creditor of  the Year… one of the reasons for winning the aware was that RBC was ‘thinking outside the box’.….  yeah, I guess they were..!

I don’t know if there is any correlation but the Big Six Banks (TD, BMO, CIBC, Scotia, RBC, National Bank) have been on a massive hiring blitz… hiring record number of so-called Mobile Mortgage ‘Specialists’ ….  These banks have doubled and tripled their commissioned sales force in the past few years…. That’s right, COMMISSIONED sales force… Makes you wonder…..

By the way, Bank employed ‘Mortgage Specialists’ are not registered with the Ministry of Finance like Mortgage Brokers are…no license to lose…

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