It all starts with a single step…


Last week I helped host two events. The first in Calgary and the second in Edmonton. The events were held in conjunction with The Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association in an effort to help launch AMBA’s new ongoing professional development workshops. I wanted to spend some time discussing some of the challenges that we face as a channel and talk about some possible solutions.

The first 30 minutes focused on the importance of taking action as individuals to ensure that we do affect change. It is all well and good to ‘discuss’ things til the cows come home but it is all useless unless we actually put some of what we discuss into practice. If you are a mortgage broker reading this I want you to really think about what it is that ‘you’ can do to make a difference. Often we stand around the proverbial water cooler asking why aren’t ‘they’ doing something about this or why aren’t ‘they’ doing something about that. I want to challenge you to ask yourself what are ‘you’ doing about some of our challenges.

Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Remember, it all starts with you. Change does not have to be massive. Small change repeatedly over time will make a significant impact. Working in the financial world we all understand the concept of compound interest. The same is true for making changes. Making small changes over time equals massive change over time. Start today with something small. 

The first part of our discussion focused on what are the top challenges that we face as a channel. We brainstormed for about 30 minutes and then summarized into the top 3 challenges. Below are the top three challenges that we identified in both Calgary and in Edmonton:


  1. Broker Education
  2. Standards of Practice are too low
  3. Consumer Awareness


  1. Broker Education
  2. Consumer Awareness
  3. Standards of Practice are too low

As you can see the challenges were identical in both Calgary and Edmonton. There were some differences in some of the sub-categories under each of these headings. Some of the underlying conversation that got us to those top three included:

  • Lack of Financial Experience
  • Perceived lack of value of broker channel
  • Lack of unity in Broker Channel
  • Fraud
  • Brokers lack understanding of their value proposition
  • Lack of unified message to consumer
  • Lack of accountability (Brokerage, Peer and Regulatory levels)
  • Uneven playing field (Brokers vs. Branch)
  • Lack of training
  • Lack of mentorship
  • Too many uncommitted brokers
  • Lack of product knowledge
  • much more…

So the tricky part was coming up with some practical solutions. I asked everyone to try and focus on some smaller things that we could all take away and implement in our business immediately. Some of the suggested take-aways were as follows:


  1. Let your associations know what types of courses you would like to have available
  2. Learn to use what you’ve got
  3. Become a Mentor
  4. Get an accountability buddy
  5. Spend some time each day educating yourself
  6. Mandatory continuing education
  7. Give feedback to regulator on what you feel are acceptable standards of education
  8. Learn what our business partners have to offer (Lenders, Insurers, etc.)

Consumer Awareness

  1. Standardize the message
  2. Ensure you know the message
  3. Get involved with education at the high school level
  4. Have the conversation with every client (educate 1 on 1)
  5. Distribute message of broker value proposition via email signature
  6. Work with associations for larger awareness campaign

Standards of Practice

  1. Get involved at the regulator level (RECA wants to hear from you)
  2. Give feedback to your associations
  3. Hold your brokerages accountable to their hiring practices
  4. Make mentoring mandatory
  5. Mandatory continuing education

It was great to see so many mortgage professionals come out to talk about how we can improve our channel and continue to grow.  My hope is that everyone who attended will take at least one step forward to improve themselves or our channel as a whole.

What actions are you taking to make sure that you are part of the solution?  Share with us in the comments below.




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