To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
Commentary, Opinions, Thoughts and Discussion on Current Events, Politics and The Mortgage Industry

9 Comments Oh Boy! – A Personal Account

Article written by on the 31 May 2012 in Family,Personal

The nurses at the hospital have dubbed baby Owen, Bubba.   Trust me, that’s going to stick

And what a boy he is.  Rachelle Gregory-Marshall, an extraordinary woman, gave birth this week to a special baby boy.  I know most parents and family members think their newborn is special and different from the rest; some new parents act like their newborn is the chosen one, carrying on as if it’s the first to ever be born.   It happens 133 million times a year, which works out to 247 births a minute worldwide.  By the time you finish reading this blog, another child has entered the world wondering, where the hell am I?  But of those 133 million yearly births, a few are different – like Rachelle and the father, Ian’s, who’s primary responsibility is now to not say or do anything stupid, baby boy.  Look, I’m not biased because they’re family.  You want proof this child is different?  Baby Owen came into the world weighing in at 10 ½ pounds!

Let me kill the suspense for you, it was cesarean section.  Funny how a double digit number, like 10 ½ pounds, makes a mother to be say “cut me open and pull him out”.  That’s totally understandable. Yet, the natural delivery of an eight or nine pound baby is considered okay and normal.  You know who considers it okay and normal?  Men!  If men had to push an eight or nine pound baby out, civilization would have ceased to exist thousands of years ago.  We’re just not tough enough to endure something like that.  The father’s job throughout the delivery is to be the coach and offer words of encouragement like, “I’m here for you…remember to breath…I agree I’m an &%@hole and this is all my fault.”

But once the baby arrives, all is forgotten; the focus is now on the baby.  The parents stare lovingly at their baby and say, “Jesus Christ, he’s 10 ½ pounds”.   The first crisis these new parents faced was the realization the newborn clothes they purchased didn’t fit.  Not to worry, that’s where I helped.  On my first visit to the hospital I brought one of my old suits with me.  I think baby Owen is about a 28 waist, so we’ll have put a few extra holes in his belt.  Baby seat?  Nah, just place him in the back seat and put the regular seatbelt on him. Owen’s parents may want to put a pillow under his bum so he can see clearly out the window.  This boy is big.  You know he’s big when the head nurse wheels Rachelle into the nursery for the first time and says to the staff, “Hey everyone, this is Bubba’s mom”.  The nurses at the hospital have dubbed baby Owen, Bubba.   Trust me, that’s going to stick.

I don’t know much about babies but I think all newborn babies look like Winston Churchill.  Sure, the odd ones look like an alien but, for the most part, they bare a striking resemblance to Churchill.  Bubba Owen is no different.  The only difference is that Rachelle gave birth to a life-size version of Churchill.  

To the proud parents, thank you for this wonderful gift and I can’t wait for Bubba Owen to otter his first words, “We shall never surrender”.

Until next time


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0 Comments Australia – Thank You!

Article written by on the 29 May 2012 in Personal,Travel


Thank You!

I can’t even to begin to express my gratitude and thanks to all those who welcomed me in Australia.  From Phil Naylor, CEO MFAA, Steve Kane, National President MFAA, the MFAA Board, and all the staff, thank you for your gracious hospitality.  The MFAA put on a fantastic conference, and it gave me the opportunity to gain some insight into the Australian market, and to meet some wonderful people.

People like  Bridget Sakr, Chief Commercial Officer Genworth Fininacial.  Bridget invited me to attend a couple of round table discussions with some Genworth’s supporters.  It was an interesting exercise and validated that all Genworth employees share the same characteristics.  Customer relations, Best in Class.  People like John Flavell, General Manager Distribution, NAB (National Australian Bank) Broker.  John invited me to attend the NAB broker appreciation dinner. This dinner was for some of the biggest supporters of NAB.  It gave me a great opportunity to ask questions of the best of the best.  Great food, great wine, a captive study group for me, can’t ask for much more.  People like Annie Lim, who I sat beside at the conference gala dinner.  Annie is the Director of the Mortgage and Finance Association of Singapore!  A fledgling association but it was a great reminder to me look constantly beyond our own backyard to learn a thing or two.

To all my new mates in Australia,  I would like to extend an invitation to you to join us in Vancouver for Mortgage Forum 2012.  Our national conference is from November 25-27.  No worries, it doesn’t conflict with the Melbourne Cup. I can assure it would be a great experience, an opportunity to network, and maybe learn the odd thing from us Canucks.

Until next time


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0 Comments The Australian Broker Market

Article written by on the 24 May 2012 in Mortgage,Travel,World Events

The one significant difference between the Australian and Canadian broker market is broker market share.  CMHC just reported that in Canada, broker market share is 27%.  In Australia, it’s 42%.


Attending the MFAA Conference has accorded me the opportunity to garner insight into the Australian broker market.  The stakeholders in Australia are as passionate and committed to their industry as we are in Canada.   I am struck by the market similarities we share, as it relates to the overall economy, and the broker market specifically.   One similarity we share is negative press. The issues are different but the press in Australia is as committed to fear mongering as it is in Canada.  There’s no talk of too much consumer debt here, yet their average mortgage balances are no different than in Canada. Here the primary focus is all that could go wrong beyond Australia’s boarder, which in turn will lead to the destruction of the Australian economy.  

Europe’s an issue; however, the press in Australia is casting its worrisome gaze in China’s direction, which on the surface is laughable.  China is Australia’s largest trading partner.  The Aussies distanced themselves from the U.S. market years ago.  They decided to hook their wagon to an emerging market like China, and fortuitously decided to distance themselves from the world’s largest sub-merging economy, the US.  Ah, but gory headlines are needed, so the focus is on China’s slowing economy.  It appears that 7 1/2% growth is no reason to celebrate or feel comfortable.  The talk is will China have a soft or hard landing, which ultimately will impact the Australian economy.  Can you imagine,  if the US was forecasting 7 1/2% growth, and what that would mean for the Canadian economy?  Yet somehow 7 1/2 % growth in China could have a negative impact in Australia.  Just wondering what part of 71/2 % growth produces a hard landing?    I guess the old saying about the press is no different in Australia – “if it bleeds…it leads”.  

The one significant difference between the Australian and Canadian broker market is broker market share.  CMHC just reported that in Canada, broker market share is 27%.  In Australia, it’s 42%.  I’ve asked every Aussie I’ve spoken to at the conference the following: “how did brokers grow their market share to 42%”?  As I suspected, there was no one definitive answer, but there were some underlying themes.

It appears that the psyche of the average Aussie plays a part in those market share numbers.  Aussies have a deep distrust of the banks and animosity towards their profits. Many Aussies believe the higher cost of borrowing has contributed to those bank profits.  Yet, banks in Australia have a 90% market share of all broker business.  So that distrust and anger has not resulted in less business for the banks. In large part that is due to the lack of competition, but it appears also that consumers look to brokers to provide them with the best of the least tasteful option.  Interesting, to say the least.

Another critical factor which contributes to the success of the broker channel is the investment that the large firms make towords advertising.  I had the pleasure to speak to Michael Russell, CEO of Mortgage Choice in Australia, about this very subject.  Without getting into specifics, Mortgage Choice invests multiple millions of dollars in advertising.  Their individual franchises advertise on their own, which collectively exceeds the dollar amount committed to advertising by Mo rtgage Choice corporately.  Throw in Aussie Hone Loans, and number of other firms which advertise, and it’s easy to see why an Aussie consumers would chose a mortgage broker.  Some of the larger broker firms in Australia spend more on advertising than the banks do, as it relates to mortgages.  The messaging is choice, service, quality of broker, trust and yes, pricing.  Since the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), Aussies are far more focused on price.  However, price alone is not enough.  The Aussie borrower is looking for utility and competency.  

There’s plenty to learn from the Australian broker experience.   Volumes speak, like $90 billion a year in origination.  I’m looking at a rate sheet from Westpac, one of the major banks in Australia, and their 5 year fixed rate is 6.99%, and the good news is their ARM pricing has been reduced to 7.09%.  You may be surprised to learn that 60% of all mortgages in Australia is ARM.  The most recent MFAA Home Finance Index, which measures consumer sentiment, indicates that the percentage of consumers who would chose a broker first, as compared to those who would chose a bank first, is almost identical.  We share many similarities with the Aussie broker market, yet some of the differences are profound.

Until next time


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0 Comments Australia: What I’ve Learned So Far

Article written by on the 22 May 2012 in Economy,Mortgage,Personal,Travel,World Events

For God’s sake they should get a couple of thousand tugboats, some good strong rope, and tow this island somewhere closer to civilization. 

In the name of all things holy it’s far.  For God’s sake they should get a couple of thousand tugboats, some good strong rope, and tow this island somewhere closer to civilization.  For transparency I was fortunate to be able to sit at front of the bus for the flight over.  That gave me the opportunity to stretch out and get some sleep, some seven hours’ worth.  It was the other fifteen hours that I had to fill, and what I learned is that to pass that amount of time away you need a distraction.  Like food!  The flight attendants try to feed you at every moment.  “Mr. Bozic, is there anything I can get you?” Let me see, it’s been 22 minutes since my last meal, “sure, how about some dim sum and 4 bags of chips”.  I’m not kidding.

The real estate market is red hot here – This according to the cab driver who drove me to my hotel.  Property values are increasing by 10% annually, and he owns multiple properties. Hmm, interesting.  I was afraid to ask him if he was a part-time mortgage broker.  Let me rephrase that, I was afraid of the answer.  I have this illusion that the Australian mortgage broker industry wouldn’t allow that.

As soon as I unpacked at the hotel in Melbourne, I went for a walkabout.  I went out and picked up two newspapers, which I planned to read from front to back, so that I can get a flavour of what’s current and happening in Australia.  On the front page of The Australian and The Daily Telegraph was this number one story: the original Wiggles are no more.  Yes, Australia’s jewel and gift to children’s programing is going through a radical makeover.  Three original members are leaving for personal reasons; the usual, wanting to be closer to family etc.  Yeah right, one day the truth will come out and we’ll all learn that there’s a Yoko Ono story in there somewhere.  One of the replacements is, are you sitting down, a Wigglette.  Only 22 years of age, Emma Watkins is the new face and the first female member of the Wiggles.  If you’re wondering she will dawn the yellow shirt.

Australian stock market has tanked.  It’s lost all of its gains in 2012. The European debt crisis dominates the business section but the major banks here feel they’re insulated because they have been preparing for the inevitable for some time now.  Australia biggest trading partner is China.  As goes the Chinese economy so goes Australia’s.

The best five year fixed rate I could find is 6.5%.  Gulp!

Melbourne is a lot like Vancouver, from architecture to the overall feel.  Melbourne hates all things Sydney; just like Vancouver and Toronto.

The learning continues.  The bastards drive on the wrong side of the road.  I was nearly killed twice jaywalking.

Revolving doors at the hotel turn in the opposite direction.  Smacked my head a few times – D’OH!

Clearly I speak funny.  I was in Melbourne for less than twelve hours and two people asked me the following: “so you here on vacation, mate?”

The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that there’s no awkwardness in meeting family for the first time. It was odd talking to my cousin on the phone, making plans to meet at the hotel and having to describe what I was wearing so he could pick me out of the crowd.  He found me, and I got a chance to spend some time with him, his beautiful daughter, his brother and his mom, my aunt.  They were extremely gracious and they treated me like family.  It doesn’t matter what happens from here – that will be my lasting memory of this trip.

Until next time


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3 Comments Australia’s Mortage Industry: Worlds Apart

Article written by on the 17 May 2012 in Business,CAAMP,Lenders,Mortgage,Travel

By the time this blog is posted, I’ll be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean heading towards Sydney, Australia.   My final destination is Adelaide, Australia.  The purpose of the journey is to attend the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia National Conference.  It’s a long, a very long way, to go to attend a conference.  By the time you read this blog, I will be well into my 22 hour flight and, I suspect, I will be going a little stir crazy.  I’ve traveled a number of times to Europe, but an 8 hour flight to Europe is like a walk around the block compared to “going down under.”  It’s a trip I always wanted to make, but I always found a reason to put it off.  Must be the thought of been cramped in a tin can for 22 hours.  But now, there was definitive time and reason to go.  The MFAA is Australia’s equivalent of CAAMP.  As much as I’m delighted to remove an item from my bucket list, going to Australia, the primary purpose of the visit is to represent CAAMP, and to go for my own personal development.

Canada and Australia are similar in many ways; specifically as it relates to the mortgage industry, an oligopoly exists in both countries, but the big difference is the disappearance of mono-lines in Australia.  That was a result of the credit crisis of 2008, or as the Aussie’s like to say, the GSS (Global Shit Storm).  The mortgage industry in Australia changed significantly post-2008.  As mentioned, mono-lines became a footnote in the annals of the mortgage lending history in Australia.  Given limited competition, broker commissions where significantly reduced.  The four major banks in Australia now control 90% of the broker market share.  The banks imposed proficiency exams on brokers to do business with them, at a cost of $750 to write the exam.  The major banks took an equity position in some of the larger broker house’s in Australia, and they exercise their influence and control by way of board seats.  Yet, for all the challenges the Australian broker market has faced since the GSS, they still control a 40% market share.  That’s what I find fascinating.  The Canadian broker market came out relatively unscathed after 2008, and yet broker market share in Canada is not growing.  The data would suggest that broker market share in Canada is actually contracting; so what is it about Australian broker market  that enables them not only maintain their market share but actually grow it?  That’s going to be the first question I ask of any stakeholder in Australia.  I hope to garner some insights and to see if there’s some practical application to our market, given examples from Australia.

What I’m really looking forward to is talking to lenders and brokers who fully embrace a trailer fee model.  Brokers and lenders in Australia are vested and fully committed to this model.  So what I hope to gleam is, how did they get there?  I believe the trailer fee model is now accepted by the broker community in Canada.  It’s no longer viewed as the boogieman or the great unknown.  In large part this is due to Merix’s commitment towards this compensation model, and it pioneering of the trailer fee model.  Many lenders talked about in the past but Merix actually did it.  I commend all the broker lenders in Canada that have created a hybrid of the Merix model.   Lenders in Canada can call them renewal fees if they like but the fact is prior to Merix, lenders were not paying on renewal.  My hope is that every lender jumps on board and helps to create future value for mortgage brokers in Canada.  Who knows, maybe one day Aussie brokers and lenders will ask us, how did you do it?

Until next time


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0 Comments Canadian Job Market: When Seeing is Not Believing

Article written by on the 15 May 2012 in CAAMP,Canada,Current Events,Economy,Ontario

Not long ago CAAMP’s Chief Economists, Will Dunning, said to me that economists base their forecasts on their personality.


All of us at some point have said, “I can’t believe what I just saw”. One example is if the Toronto Maple Leafs ever win the Stanley Cup. The conscious mind would not to be able to accept something so outrageous and beyond the realm of possibility. It is so much easier to believe in something that you never see – like all things religious. Religion is purely based on faith and actual scientific evidence is, well, scarce to say the least. Yet, people believe. So how is it that something as simple as economic data makes some economists disbelievers? That’s exactly what’s happening today; they see the data but they don’t believe it.

I find it fascinating that economists are saying Canada’s job creation numbers should not be taken at face value. Over the last two months, Canada has added more jobs than in any other two-month period in the last 31 years, with approximately 140,500 jobs added in March and April. Also, more full time permanent positions were added, meaning more Canadian workers will benefit from employer healthcare benefits. That’s fantastic news! It’s reason to celebrate! But no, economists are suggesting the employment numbers are not sustainable and our job numbers are uneven. As for sustainability, no kidding! But I guess if they say that often enough they’ll eventually be right. As for the numbers being uneven – Alberta, for example, has the hottest job market today, while Ontario lags behind the rest of the country – that’s another debate all together. Ontario’s most recent numbers are clear evidence that the province needs real leadership. What was once the economic engine of Canada has now been reduced to the nation’s punch line. Ontario aside, there’s great news for the rest of the country. Quebec? Everyone was under the impression that the province was headed for another recession. Low and behold, the job numbers in Quebec are rising. Companies are looking for experienced workers – evident in the fact that more people aged 55 and older are being hired. Youth unemployment is still an issue, and Canada’s jobless rate ticked up a bit to 7.3%. That being said, Obama would kill for those numbers heading into the presidential elections.

Canada’s job figures appear to have caught many economists by surprise. The question is why? How can those in “the know” now claim that these numbers came out of nowhere. Of course, they can make that claim, but if they continue to get caught off-guard, their future predictions will fall on deaf ears.
Not long ago CAAMP’s Chief Economists, Will Dunning, said to me that economists base their forecasts on their personality. They’re either optimists or pessimists, and their forecasts will reflect their normal disposition. Based on their recent track record, maybe there should be a third category –Illusionist.


Until next time.


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0 Comments Europe’s Dark Clouds

Article written by on the 10 May 2012 in Current Events,Economy,World Events

Europe Debt CrisisIt’s hard to imagine that Europe’s economic situation could become more uncertain but you have to hand it to the Europeans, they figured out a way.  The “left” is taking control of the political leavers in Europe, and the response was somewhat unexpected.  The markets did not react negatively to the elections in France, and Greece last weekend.  Pundits on Wall Street are suggesting they have already built in the outcome of the elections.  It’s seems somewhat odd that the markets took the elections in stride given past responses to the European crisis.  Ah, but that was on Monday.  By Tuesday the markets started to react as investors finally took note.  The delayed reaction was surprising because recent history suggests that the markets will respond negatively to all things Europe.  Manchester United loses 1-0 to Bolton; the Dow and TSX down 200 points.

 The stock market aside, this wasn’t a good week for Europe.  Some economists are suggesting that Europe is once again in, and heading towards another deep recession.  Last month Europe’s aggregated economy contracted.  Spain now holds the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate of member countries in the EU.  It’s estimated that one in four Spaniards are unemployed today.  You know Europe is teetering when Germany and France’s economy has come to a sudden halt.  The population of Europe is looking to punish someone for the mess there in.  The first big shoe to drop was in France.

There’s a new president electEurope News President Hollande in France.  President Hollande is a left wing ideologue.  He exploited the mood of the French population, and convinced them that they could tax and spend their way to prosperity.  He convinced the French population that France could recover without having to impose deep austerity measures.  France’s new president wants to move from transatlantic agreements and focus more on member countries of the EU.  This will impact Canada.  The Harper Government has been negotiating with the EU about a new free-trade agreement but now that Hollande is controlling one of the leavers the free trade agreement may not come to pass.  At the very least it might be put on the back burner.  France is not the only country to move to the left.  Greece, they’re back.  Yes, a new government was elected in Greece last weekend, one that promises to spend their way out of debt.  Correct me if I’m wrong – but I think that way of thinking contributed to mess they’re in today.  It’s worrisome to see the direction Europe is headed in.  But I also understand when people feel hopeless, confused and desperate, the impulse is to roll the dice and hope for a miracle.  How much worse can it get?

It can get worse, a lot worse.  What was unthinkable a year ago, countries defaulting, is starting to look more probable.  The IMF will not put up with Greece if they attempt to increase spending.  There may be no more bailouts, and if that was to happen there’s no way Greece could remain a member of the EU.  There’s a real possibility that we’ll be witnessing history; rather appropriate given a number of countries in Europe appear to be history.

Until next time,






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3 Comments Public Speaking

Article written by on the 08 May 2012 in Business

boris-bozic-public speakingIt can be the most unnerving, and for some terrifying, experience.   There are those who make it look so easy but I suspect their secret to success is the ability to suppress the fear and anxiety of public speaking.  There are plenty of courses for those who want to become better at public speaking but no course is as valuable as practical experience.  Presenting in front of a large audience teaches many lessons, and the lessons are usually painful.

 There’s nothing more humbling than walking off the stage and saying to yourself, “well, that sucked”.  I’ve done enough public speaking over the last few years to honestly judge my own performance.  Really, that’s what public speaking is.  Either you’re “on” or you’re not.  There have been times when I’ve been in a middle of a presentation and I know it’s working.  The words seem to flow, the pace of speech is just right and the audience is engaged.  I measure audience engagement by Blackberry use.  Then there are other times when I know I’m not connecting with the audience, and god forbid if I have another forty minutes to fill.  That has to be one of the loneliest feelings in the world.  There’s no teammate on stage that can cover for you.  It’s just you and the audience wishing they were somewhere else.

Every time I go on stage to do a presentation I’m nervous.  Not to any paralyzing degree but enough to get the feeling in the pit of my stomach, accompanied by sweaty palms.  It doesn’t matter how many times I do it that feeling is there.  It was no different last week when I spoke to a group of realtors in Oakville.  For context, a great supporter of Merix, Mark Mighton, asked me to speak at event he was sponsoring.  It was the Oakville Real Estate Association continuing education session, with some 250 realtors in attendance. The presentation was being held in a movie theatre.  It was an interesting day to say the least.  My morning started by doing the opening remarks at the CAAMP Symposium in Laval, Quebec.  Off to the airport from Laval to catch a flight to Toronto so that I can make it on time for the presentation in Oakville.  Of course the plane was delayed by an hour which means I would be cutting it real close.  I’m providing ETA updates to the organizers of the event, and I know I was causing them some angst.  As luck would have it I arrived with 10 minutes to spare.  No time to decompress or really gather my thoughts, its show time.  So I’m introduced by the host of the event, and I say “Thank you and good afternoon ladies gentlemen’”.   Just then I noticed a woman, right in the middle of the theatre, dead to the world.  I mean she is out cold, head tilted to the side, mouth wide open, she’s in a deep sleep.  It’s funny what goes through your mind in about second.  My first instinct was to laugh, and then I started to rationalize.  “Christ, it can’t be me…I’ve been on for only 3  1/2 seconds”.

For 45 minutes I tried to avoid looking at the woman in a coma.  That’ not an easy thing to do because I know she’s there and I’m wondering if she’s really going to sleep through entire presentation.  She dipublic-speaking-standing-ovationd.  In fairness to the slumbering woman, when the audience clapped at the end of my presentation it startled her awake.  She rose to her feet and joined the others in clapping.  I made eye contact with her and mouthed, thank you.  What a thrill for me.  I received a standing ovation from one person in the audience who didn’t hear a single word I said.

 Until next time,





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0 Comments OSFI

Article written by on the 03 May 2012 in Mortgage

OSFI-mortgage-rulesI suspect everyone in our industry is familiar or has some basic understanding of OSFI’s responsibilities.  The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is an independent agency of the Government of Canada, and the agency reports directly to the Minister of Finance.  OSFI’S mandate?  Simply stated OSFI’S role is to ensure that Canadians have confidence in the financial system.  Given what’s transpired in the rest of the word since 2008, I suspect Canadian confidence in our financial system has not waned, at all.  Yet most Canadians wouldn’t know who or what OSFI is.   Maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Regulators in the US have come under heavy criticism for their role or lack thereof leading to the financial crisis of 2008.  The criticism that regulators in the US have received over the last four years contributes to the erosion of consumer confidence.  When regulators make headlines you know change is coming.  Consumer confidence is the underpinning of any established economy.  If consumers are concerned about their jobs, they don’t spend.  If Canadians ever questioned the stability of our banking system, well, the net result could be cataclysmic.

So what exactly is the responsibility of this shadowy agency that so few Canadian know about or even know of their existence? 

1.       Supervise institutions and pension plans whether they are in sound financial condition

2.       To ensure that financial institutions are complying to law and supervisory requirement

3.       To advise institutions of material deficiencies, and to require management and boards of said institutions to implement corrective measures

4.       Create policy and procedures designed to mitigate risk

5.       Monitor and evaluate system-wide or sectoral issues that may impact institutions negatively

We’re getting firsthand experience as it relates to the fifth mandate.  OSFI has significant concerns about the state of lending in this country and the risk posed to financial intuitions if current lending practices continued.  Lending practices are being questioned and change is coming.  What’s unknown is the degree of change.  OFSI requested for CAAMP to respond to their draft guideline – B-20 Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures.  CAAMP was grateful for the opportunity to respond to OSFI and once again it demonstrates that CAAAMP has become the guardian of our industry.  CAAMP’s response was well measured and focused.
For a copy of a CAAMP’s full response, please click here. 

As a teaser, CAAMP’s response focused on the following lending practices and procedures;

1.       Loan Documentation

2.       Debt Service Change –Additional Assessment Criteria

3.       Loan to Value Ratio

4.       Down Payment

5.       Home Equity Lines of Credit

It is clear that OSFI is reviewing every aspect of lending and specifically the fundamentals of credit decisions.  As an industry it would be naïve to believe that change would have no impact on our business.  Change is coming and one has to hope that change is measured and based on facts.  Over reaching changes to lending policies poses a risk.  Confidence in the financial system is critical.  However, if Canadians don’t believe that banks want to lend prudently, they’ll respond accordingly.  There are different ways for Canadians to lose confidence in the banking system.  It’s not just about writing bad loans…it’s also about writing no loans.

Until next time,


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2 Comments Read On, You Might Be Shocked

Article written by on the 01 May 2012 in Technology/Social Media

Industries have invested untold billions of dollars to ensure privacy protection, and yet employer can say, “never mind your privacy, give me your Facebook password”. 


employers-asking-for-facebook-passwordNo one is shocked today about the growth and acceptance of social media.  Even a novice has a basic understanding of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.  Social media vehicles are everywhere, especially in the work place.  If you’re bored right now do a walk-about in your office and you’ll see for yourself.   There’s a good chance that one of your direct reports or co-workers are “liking” something on Facebook or Tweeting.  Social media websites are now a part of the workplace DNA.  How much productivity is lost because of social media?  That’s a topic for another blog, as well as how do you monetize your social media efforts.   This blog is about privacy, and the rights of an employer and employee.

Did you know that an employer has the right to ask for your Facebook password?  Go ahead, pick up your jaw…I’ll wait. Now that you’ve recovered you might be saying to yourself, “Maybe I shouldn’t have posted those photos”.   Moving on, did you know that if you go for an interview the perspective employer has every right to ask you for your Facebook password?  If you say no, that’s personal information, they have every right not to hire you.  Believe it or not there is no legislation in Canada which prevents an employer from requesting this information.  Truth be told, I just came across this information and my reaction was probably not unlike yours.  Industries have invested untold billions of dollars to ensure privacy protection, and yet employer can say, “never mind your privacy, give me your password”.  Needless to say the folks at Facebook are less than amused with the employer’s right to request this information.  Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer recently issued the following statement, “We don’t think employers should be asking perspective employees to provide their password because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do”.  Well, that will make them stop.  He goes on, “we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password”.  To hell with the Canadian Charter of Rights, we wouldn’t want to violate Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.    Who knows, maybe one day Facebook will rule the world, and Mark Zuckerberg’s face might be on every bill, but until that happens Canadian law trumps Facebook’s wish.

To be clear there are legal considerations an employer must be aware of if they were to subscribe to this practice.  Asking for this information may result in human rights complaints and the employer must safeguard any information derived from some else’s Facebook page.  That being said, if an employer crosses all “t’s” and dots their “i’s” - it could happen, to you.  

From my perspective it’s an unseemly practice, it’s cooperate voyeurism.  It’s only a matter of time before the laws are changed.  Social media is changing how we do business, and how we interact.  Government laws have not kept pace.  Like everything else, eventually they’ll get around to it.

I think I’m going to go for a walk-about in the office.  I’m not going to ask anyone for their Facebook password.  I’m going to open someone else’s mail, surely that can’t be illegal?

Until next time


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