It’s become our tradition to roam the show floor every year, gathering tidbits about each exhibitor’s recent developments and new products. Here’s some of what we dug up this time around:
Axiom: Has had great success with the “do not qualify” feature that it integrated in its CRM program this year. It helps brokers follow up with and nurture clients who need to strengthen their credit before getting a mortgage.
Centum: Built a new automated system that auto-adjudicates (pre-qualifies) clients based on lender and insurer guidelines. The client gets an email telling them they’ve been pre-qualified (and/or referring them to an agent) within minutes of filling out an online application.
CHIP: Is launching a new direct-to-broker channel as an alternative to its present system where mortgage brokers refer clients to CHIP reps. The new system pays brokers significantly more, but requires that they be “certified” in reverse mortgages, which entails training and a test.
CMLS: Now has an online portal for mortgage brokers.
Community Trust: Offers a HELOC at prime + 1% for alternative clients. It goes up to 65% loan-to-value, and the minimum credit score is just 580.
D+H: Is testing a new tool that lets brokers video-conference with clients via Skype. It’s also assessing a system that lets clients upload documents online using a secure compliant Dropbox-like interface. Brokers can even email a client a link to a cloud drive where the customer can drag and drop their documents. The docs are then instantly uploaded into Exchange. D+H is also testing a system that alerts brokers to when someone is talking about them online (by monitoring social media and Google, for example). And lastly, there’s an artificial intelligence system that detects when comments from a client in a broker’s social network suggest that client is shopping for a new home or mortgage.
Dominion Lending Centres: Just posted its best quarter ever. This will be the first year that it tops $20 billion ($22.5 billion to be exact, including Mortgage Centre). Its volume per agent is up over 60%, rising from $4.2 million in 2010 to $6.9 million this year (partly due to recruiting new high-quality experienced brokers).
Equitable Bank: Now lends in NL, PEI and NB, expanding its national reach.
Home Trust: Is having strong uptake of its alternative lending 90% loan-to-value “bundle” mortgage (not available in all regions), as well as its 75% LTV rental mortgage (which comes with its best rates with no insurance premium).
ICICI: Just launched an online mortgage portal for clients. It’s still offering a no-fee closing service for refinances (including title insurance).
MCAP: In what is likely the best product news from the Expo, MCAP is going to be the first monoline lender with a true automatically readvanceable mortgage. It’s similar to FirstLine’s popular Matrix mortgage, and is expected sometime in the first quarter. It’s in pilot now.
M-Link: Has introduced the TFSAMaximizer, a mortgage plan that transfers an RRSP into a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). The purpose, says the company, is to make a client’s retirement savings “tax free.”
MPP: Is rolling out critical illness insurance and job loss insurance. It’s also adding a checkbox on its MPP form so clients can indicate when they want more information about term life insurance — as an alternative to creditor life insurance. (Brokers also get paid for referring term life.)
Merix Financial: Has a new client app and is phasing in its online client portal, as well as a broker portal for Lendwise deals. It’s also working on a major new mortgage product with details to come in 2015.
National Bank: Is pre-approving credit cards with every mortgage (limits start at $1,000 and go to the 5-digit range). Brokers are paid a flat fee for credit card referrals.
RMG: Is considering an insured second mortgage, hopefully available at best rates. This niche product would be an excellent solution for people who need to port and increase their mortgage, but can’t get a reasonable rate quote (from their existing lender) on the new money.
Secure Capital MIC: Now does draw financing and bridge financing up to 80% in most provinces (but not B.C.).
Street Capital: Anticipates its bank licence in 2015. Street surpassed $20 billion in mortgages under administration last quarter.
TaskNetwork.ca: Provides your own virtual assistant in the Philippines for $7.90 an hour.
TMG: Had a record year volume-wise in 2014. It has also rolled out a new accounting, payroll and analytics platform. Among other things, it lets brokers instantly check their year-to-date volume, lender distribution and files that are pending payroll.
TD: Will get its new underwriting system (in partnership with First National) in place by January/February for Ontario, by April for the Prairies and B.C., and thereafter for the rest of the country.
Rob McLister, CMT