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

0 Comments Jim Murphy — A Hearty Thank You

Article written by on the 24 Jul 2015 in CAAMP

When I received a call from the soon to be former CEO of CAAMP, Jim Murphy, to tell me personally that he is tendering his resignation, I was and wasn’t surprised. As he shared with me his rationale for wanting to pursue other opportunities, my mind was racing. Candidly speaking, images and the silent questions I started asking myself impeded my ability to truly comprehend and absorb every word spoken during that conversation. I think there’s a simple explanation as to why my mind started bombarding me with questions: it’s because Jim mattered, a lot. Now he’s leaving.

They say that timing is everything, and as cliché as that is, it holds  true in Jim Murphy’s case.  When Jim first joined CAAMP, it was raining mortgage applications. Hubris ruled; this was how it was going to be forever.  Then WAM!; 2008 comes along and forever changes our landscape. Jim’s knowledge and skill at navigating the hallways of Parliament ensured our voices would be heard. Prior to Jim joining CAAMP, we would be lucky to get a phone call returned from the Finance Department in Ottawa. Not long after Jim’s arrival, not only were our calls returned by the Finance Department, they began reaching out to CAAMP for data and input on mortgage related issues. Jim Murphy is invited to Ottawa every year for the reading of the new federal budget. (more…)

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3 Comments A Surreal Experience

Article written by on the 20 Sep 2013 in Business,CAAMP,Canada,Merix Financial,Mortgage,Personal

It’s amazing how many thoughts can race through your mind in a matter of seconds.  The images are vivid, yet vanish in seconds.

I had such an experience earlier this week.  There I was, about to start a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty and my mind went racing down memory lane.  For a split second, I found myself recalling the very first mortgage application I ever filled out. This was twenty five years ago.  I met my first customers on a Saturday morning, but as it was my first deal as a mortgage broker, I would have gladly have met them at 3:00am.  Oh, the knowledge I had back then.  For example, I was aware that mortgage’s was spelled with two “g’s”.  I was so wet behind the ears that I had to keep a drawer open in my desk so I could refer to an old Statement of Mortgage.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything, so I kept taking a peek at a completed Statement of Mortgage.  I had to resist the urge to laugh at the memory.

“There were many other thoughts that kept running through my head, especially about CAAMP, and how far we’ve come as an association.”

In a couple of nanoseconds I also thought about the first time a fledgling national association called CIMBL made their way to British Columbia to pitch brokers on why they should become members.  I was in attendance at the pitch. I remembered standing at the back of the room listening to CIMBL’s talking head, saying without embarrassment, “if you do not become members of this association lenders will not pay you a finder’s fee.”  I couldn’t help but think, “you fool, you just set this new association back by three years in British Columbia”.  I was wrong, it was five years.  There were many other thoughts that kept running through my head, especially about CAAMP, and how far we’ve come as an association.

But I had to clear my mind and prepare for the meeting with Mr. Flaherty. Jim Murphy, CAAMP President, Daryl Harris, CAAMP Chair, and myself were given the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Finance this week.  The purpose of the meeting was to share our thoughts and concerns for the mortgage broker market.  Both Jim and Daryl did an outstanding job, laying out the facts in a balanced and measured way.  It was our hope that the Minister of Finance would view our positioning points through the lens of consumer choice and the important contribution the mortgage broker channel makes to the Canadian economy.  Jim Murphy has done yeomen’s work on behalf of our industry in Ottawa and this most recent meeting added another layer to the relationship foundation between CAAMP and the Finance Department.  Kudos to both Jim and Daryl.

As for my role at the meeting?  I spoke briefly about the important role that mono-line lenders, like MERIX, play in the mortgage broker channel.  Most importantly, the choice we provide for Canadian borrowers.  I also spoke briefly about the contribution that mono-lines make to Canadian tax role.  Mono-lines provide greater choice for borrowers but they’re also job creators.  I made it very clear that we ask for no favour.  The mono-lines are prepared to compete but the nuances and difference between mono-lines and banks should be factored when making decisions which impacts funding for the mortgage broker channel.  The Minister of Finance stated that his office would consult with our industry about all the recent changes and what our needs might be going into 2014.

One of the things I am most proud about during my time on the CAAMP Board is the relationship which has been built with Ottawa and the regulators.  I wasn’t too long ago when it was difficult to get a phone call returned from the powers that be. Today, the calls are being returned and we have an opportunity to sit at the adult table. Influence cannot happen without dialogue.  I believe CAAMP’s efforts are being noticed.  It’s why we don’t hear the “cash grab” argument with the frequency we once did.  Today, even the haters have some difficulty arguing that the nominal cost to be a member is not worth trying to protect our collective wallets.

Until next time,

Cheers

 

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1 Comments Free Speech: Monoline Lender Panel

Article written by on the 07 Jun 2013 in CAAMP,Mortgage

This week I had  the distinct pleasure to share the stage with Ron Swift, CEO of Pacific Mortgage Group,  Paul Grewal, President, Street Capital and Derek Norton,  MCAP Group of Companies during the monoline panel session at the CAAMP/MBBC Spring Conference & Trade Show. The panel discussion was about the state of the market and what our crystal ball says about the future of our industry.  To be totally frank I’m somewhat hesitant to participate on these panel discussions given some of my prior experiences.  I’ve been on panels in the past where panelists offered nothing but motherhood statements or they use the time to extoll the virtues of their own companies.  Being a part of some financial institutions gloried infomercial does nothing for me.   So now when I’m invited to take part in panel discussion, my agreement to do so will be based on who the other panelists are.  That’s why there was no hesitancy on my part when I was asked to participate at the conference in Vancouver. The gentlemen noted above know their stuff, and they speak freely.

I’m not sure what insights the audience garnered during the session but I can tell you I learned a few things.  For example, I have to remind myself that when I speak publicly I’m speaking to a much broader audience.  Someone mentioned to me, a few hours after the session, that there were a number of tweets during the panel discussion.  I’m still coming around to the notion that the social media is providing a vehicle for people to provide instantaneous commentary and judgement on what you’re saying.  Don’t get me wrong, even if I write “don’t forget twitter” on the palm of my hand prior to a public address it wouldn’t change my message.  What might change is certain phraseology.  After addressing audiences I always mentally critique my own performance and make note of things I could or should have said differently.  Today an improper or incorrect phraseology can become memorialized, thanks to twitter.

I always get feedback after participating at an event and the most recent event was no different.  The feedback is motivated by those simply being polite to those who wish to offer suggestions how the session could have better; which is code for how I could have done a better job.  No offense taken.

Until next time,

Cheers.

 

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1 Comments CAAMP Moves Forward

Article written by on the 07 Mar 2013 in CAAMP

It’s been five years since the last time I took part in the CAAMP strategy session, and over the next two days I’m at it again.  The board is meeting in Niagara to chart the course for CAAMP for the next five years.  It’s an important exercise to go through, and it’s an exercise that all the directors take seriously. The decisions that will be made over the next two days will reflect the wishes of the membership.

There have been many changes in our industry over the last five years, and it only stands to reason that changes would apply to CAAMP as well.  From my perspective the most profound change for CAAMP is their activism.  Over the last five years CAAMP has become THE voice of the broker channel, and represents the interests of multiple constituents on a national level.  CAAMP’s membership has made their wishes clear, government relations is recognized as the number one activity that CAAMP undertakes on their behalf.  Can’t say with any certainty what the board will ultimately decide on over the next two days but I suspect government relations will be at the forefront.  One of the other changes that I’ve noticed over the last five years is that there is less chatter that CAAMP dues are simply a cash grab.  I don’t think it’s a case of not seeing the forest from the trees but I believe the majority of the membership has been able to join the dots.  Paying dues means we have the ability to lobby government, which leads to protecting what’s in our member’s wallets, and to ensure sustainability for the long haul.

The association has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years, and it truly represents our industry in all regions of the country.  Our preset Chair is from Manitoba, next year’s Chair is from Saskatchewan, and two years ago our Chair was from British Columbia.   In my humble opinion CAAMP cannot be viewed as an Ontario based association only.  CAAMP’s membership is in line with our countries population but geography alone does not dictate who will lead the association; ability does, and that’s the way it should be.

Until next time

Cheers

 

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0 Comments Reasons to Celebrate: Smart Consumers and Low Unemployment

Article written by on the 11 Dec 2012 in CAAMP,Canada,Economy

For some time now, finding positive news about the mortgage industry and the real estate market in general required a Sherpa Guide and a donkey.  “I think I just heard something positive about mortgages…  OOPS, my bad, it’s just Big Foot.”

It hasn’t been easy but over the past couple of weeks there’s been news which leads me to believe the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse may not be on the way.

CAAMP’s Annual State of the Residential Mortgage Market in Canada (love those short titles) was released just prior to Mortgage Forum 2012 in Vancouver.  It’s a must read for everyone in the industry.  All the major media outlets have picked up the report and there’s been a significant amount of coverage based on the report.  One aspect of the report that bodes well for the industry, and should give regulators some degree of comfort, is how responsible Canadian borrowers are.  I found it striking that 32% of borrowers either increased their monthly payments or made principal reductions over the past 12 months.  It is estimated that $3.5 billion in additional monthly payments were made, and a further $20 billion in lump sum payments.  Yes, consumers are taking on more debt but they’re looking at paying off their debt sooner.  When stories are written about consumer debt levels, a word or two should be dedicated to how responsible Canadians are in attempting to eliminate their debt.

Here’s another indication that consumers maybe be smarter than the press give them credit for.  Over the past 12 months there’s been a high level of ARM conversions to 5 year fixed terms, and the product of choice today is 5 year fixed. Maybe, just maybe consumers are smart enough to know that now is not the time to gamble.  They’re looking at five year terms and saying the rate is competitive and it’s worth the peace of mind for the next five years.

As far as I’m concerned, the only stat that matters to our industry is the unemployment rate.  Everything else, where prime is going etc., is secondary.  Our industry, our entire economy will rise and fall with employment numbers.  It’s simple, if borrowers are working and they have access to cheap money, like they do now and will have for the next few years, there’s less reason to dump a property.  A home owner may not get the price they’re looking for but because the home is affordable there is less reason to discount the price.

If a home owner loses their job a completely different set of circumstances arise.  That’s why there’s reason for optimism over the most recent employment numbers.  According to Stat’s Canada, 59 thousand new jobs were created in November. On a year over year basis 294 thousand new jobs have been created, and hours worked have also increased.  These numbers are critical, not only to our industry but to our economy. Anytime we see a reduction in the employment rate it’s a reason for a high five or fist bump.  So turn around and give your work mate a fist bump because our unemployment rate has been reduced to 7.2%.

There’s more good news that will be readily available when the full Maritz survey becomes public in January, another must read.  But even if we only take into account the data available today there’s reason for optimism, and lessons to be learned.  For instance, consumers do not require regulators to legislate responsibility. Consumers are miles ahead on that one.

Until next time,

Cheers.

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3 Comments Mortgage Forum: Customer Complaints

Article written by on the 29 Nov 2012 in CAAMP

Customer Complaints play a critical role in any organization because they are the rawest form of interaction between a customer and a business.  Complaints, by their very nature, are an emotional reaction to an experience.  It’s visceral so it’s more about emotion than fact.  Customers who are angry, frustrated or “feel” like they have been disrespected in some fashion are more inclined to let their feelings be known.  A company should never, ever, dismiss a customer’s complaint, even if it’s proven that the complaint has no factual foundation.  An angry customer today has a multitude of communication platforms at their disposal to share their outrage.  A company who ignores customer complaints does so at their own peril.  Companies can learn a great deal from complaints and in some cases customer complaints can help an organization identify flaws in their DNA.

As the Chair of the CAAMP Mortgage Forum, I think about customer complaints and feedback, and how best to interpret the complaints/feedback.  Unlike organizations that produce a product, the Mortgage Forum is an experience.  An experience is emotional and therefore when I review the CAAMP survey I do so through a filter.  All the feedback we receive about the conference is carefully analyzed but I also remind myself that it is nearly impossible to satisfy everyone. Some people are predisposed to having a less than positive experience.

For example, some complaints are made by those who fall into the “bitter bucket”.  These are individuals who really dislike a different approach. Let me rephrase that, they hate everything.  They long for the old ways.  The simple things in life provide them comfort, and they miss that.  If the messiah himself was to appear on stage these people would say, “great…just what we need…another motivational speaker”.  The other group is the “phantom bucket”.  These are the people who go to the conference and don’t attend any sessions. However, they still share their opinions about the quality of the sessions and speakers.  I’m impressed that their telepathic prowess is not impacted by sleep deprivation and libation intake.

Irrespective of the categories of complaints they all serve a purpose.  The Mortgage Forum is a two and half day experience and the likelihood of being completely satisfied over the course of the entire conference is pretty low. The attention to detail, by those responsible for putting this event together, is the reason why the majority of delegates are satisfied with their experience at the Mortgage Forum. For the people who arrange the Mortgage Forum, it’s the little things.  Like addressing the complaint we received one year that “the bagel’s we served at breakfast were too small”.  So now when you have breakfast at the Mortgage Forum you’ll notice there are bagel instructions on the back of all the napkins: “If you believe the bagels are too small, please feel free to eat two of them“.  Just kidding, we went with bigger bagels.

Until next time,

Cheers.

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0 Comments Day 2 – Mortgage Forum 2012

Article written by on the 27 Nov 2012 in CAAMP

It’s day two at the CAAMP Mortgage Forum and the day stated with music and a presentation on the creative process with recording artist David Usher. Hell of a way to start the day. I challenged the creative part of my brain by asking him to come up with lyrics that incorporate the words bps, OSFI, B20 and trailer fees. We might have to wait a while to hear that hit.

I have to get back to the conference.

Until next time,

Cheers.

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0 Comments Time To Go CAAMP’ing

Article written by on the 22 Nov 2012 in CAAMP

CAAMP Conference 2012Minus the tents, sleeping on the ground, rummaging for food and not bathing for a few days.  There will be no roughing it at the CAAMP Mortgage Forum 2012.  Every aspect of the conference is high end.  From its location, speaker line-up and entertainment.  The mortgage industry is entitled to an event which is celebratory in nature.  Our industry has been in the cross-hairs for some time now, and this conference gives us an opportunity to say to all those who viewed our industry in a negative light, We’re still here…We’re still standing…We’re still relevant.

As the Conference Chair, my wish is that all attendees enjoy the experience.  There’s nothing wrong with having fun while you learn and network.  Personally, what I’m looking forward to is talking to people.  Old school, one-on-one conversations. Less texts, and more handshakes and smiles.  Here’s to a great Mortgage Forum 2012, and I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver.

 Until next time,

 Cheers.

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0 Comments Mortgage Forum 2012: The Count Down Begins

Article written by on the 15 Nov 2012 in CAAMP

CAAMP Conference 2012In a little over a week I get to play the part of an expected father, the birth of a massive baby;  Mortgage Forum 2012 officially opens on Sunday, November 25th, in the beautiful city of Vancouver. This is year two of the conference transformation or rebirth if you will.  The teeth gnashing and nail biting was far more intense last year.  I guess that’s because you’re never 100 per cent sure if and how the change will be embraced.  I received many compliments during the Forum last year but I had this nagging doubt that people were just being polite.  Therefore, attendees true feelings and thoughts would be captured by way of survey results.  I waited with baited breath to get the results, and what a satisfying exhale it was when the results came in.  The results were off the charts, and it was there in black and white, the changes were embraced.  Many the of the survey respondents commented, “How are you going to top it next year?”  All modesty aside, we’re going to do it. (more…)

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1 Comments CAAMP Vlog

Article written by on the 18 Sep 2012 in CAAMP,Mortgage

“It is to our collective benefit to ensure that the talent pool is deep, and cultivating that talent will enable our industry to flourish and grow.”

Well, sort of.  Last week CAAMP forwarded the attached video to all members, and seeing how I did the narration I thought it would be appropriate to use the video as my blog.  In the event you didn’t get a chance to see the video,  it speaks to one of my initiatives, organic growth for the channel.  This is an issue that we as industry should all be cognizant of.  Succession planning is critical for any organization, and the same principles hold true for an industry.  Many of the past and present leaders of our industry still have time to make significant contributions.  But with each passing day we get closer to passing on the leadership torch.  Who will be the ones to take on that responsibility?  Many of our future leaders are among us now, and some maybe contemplating our industry as a vocation.  Identifying future leaders, and providing them with council and visibility, will assist  our industry through transition.  It is to our collective benefit to ensure that the talent pool is deep, and cultivating that talent will enable our industry to flourish and grow.  Where will the next generations of brokers, lenders and insurers going to come from?  Would it not be to our benefit to have university and college students choose brokering as a career path?  Can we continue to count on people just bumping into our industry and deciding that they’ll give it a go?  Our industry is at a crossroads.  Our market share has flatten, intense competitive factors are at play and we all now face the challenge of strong regulatory headwinds.  Our future leaders will have to be far more sophisticated to deal with these issues than we are today.  Our industry is evolving, and it will be imperative that the leadership skill level evolves at the same pace.

Until next time

Cheers

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1 Comments CAAMP Chair: Time Is Winding Down

Article written by on the 30 Aug 2012 in CAAMP

Mortgage-ProfessionalsI’m in Quebec City today to chair my last CAAMP Board meeting. Where has the time gone? I have on more official function to serve, the annual AGM in October, and one ceremonial event, Mortgage Form 2012, before passing on the torch to our Vice-Chair, Daryl Harris.

I had dinner with Daryl last night to discuss association issues. He asked me if chairing my last board meeting was bitter sweet. My answer was, no. It’s time. For this association to grow and and evolve requires fresh ideas. My time chair has been rewarding on so many fronts, but now it’s Daryl’s time to lead the board. I know Daryl will do an outstanding job as chair. My role on the executive next year is that of Past-Chair, and the Past-Chair’s primary role is to stay out of the Chair’s way. There to be called upon for council and advise but the leadership and vision will be in Daryl’s hands come October.

Before I pass the torch on to Daryl, one of the most important events during the calendar year has to take place, CAAMP Board elections. A number of CAAMP Board members are up for re-election and many have stated that their intention is to run again. To those board members who have decided to run again, I wish you all the best. You served our members with distinction, and you made a contribution. For those members who have decided to run, you’re to be commended. Fighting for the right to volunteer your time is truly admirable.

Until next time

Cheers

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0 Comments CAAMP Mortgage Forum: Please Stop, you’re Making us Blush!

Article written by on the 07 Aug 2012 in CAAMP

“What makes this award a little sweeter is that the CAAMP Mortgage Forum 2011 beat out two large American conferences.”

I had a new blog all crafted and ready to be posted today but I had to set it aside.  Why?  Because I received some fantastic news on Monday morning that I had to share.  CAAMP Mortgage Forum 2011 was the recipient of  another award over the weekend.  This is now the second award that the CAAMP Mortgage Forum 2011 has received.  The most recent award was from the International Events Society.  The ISES awarded CAAMP the “Best Meeting Conference over $250K”.  What makes this award a little sweeter is that the CAAMP Mortgage Forum 2011 beat out two large American conferences.  The sense of pride and accomplishment has nothing to do with an inferiority complex.  We can do anything as well as they do South of the boarder and given the state of our respective economies we’ve demonstrated that we can do a lot of things better north of the 49th parallel.  What makes this a little sweeter for me is based solely on the fact that Canada’s Woman soccer team lost to the US woman’s team over the weekend at the London Olympics.  The loss was a direct result of shameful officiating and the referee in charge of the match should never be allowed to officiate a match of such significance again.  It was gut wrenching to watch our gal’s come out on the short end because of an officials ineptitude.  Our Woman’s soccer team have dedicated years of training for this moment, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re true champions.

Okay, I’ll get off on one soap-box to jump on another.  We won, hands down fair and square!  I’m so proud of the staff at CAAMP.  Putting a conference together like ours takes extraordinary effort.  It’s easy to take for granted the work that is required to pull off an event of this magnitude.  The truth is the CAAMP staff has spoiled us a little.  It’s easy to assume that every conference is like ours and that every conference is as cost effective as ours.  As someone who’s attended many conferences outside of Canada, I can honestly say that we’re very fortunate.  From sheer size to quality and cost, we are the best.  And now we have some hardware to prove it.  Take a bow Michael Ellenzweig, Cara Shulman, Alison Cousland, the organizing committee and all the staff at CAAMP for making it happen.  Most importantly, thank you to all the Mortgage Forum sponsors, and those who attended.  Without your collective support the conference doesn’t happen.

Thanks to our sponsors, Mortgage Forum 2012 in Vancouver promises to be bigger and better.  Hopefully I’ll see you in Vancouver from November 25 -27, 2012.

Link to Mortgage Forum 2012 Conference site

 Until next time,

 Cheers.

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