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

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

Cheers

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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.
Cheers

 

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1 Comments CAAMP: And The Award Goes To

Article written by on the 05 Apr 2012 in CAAMP

mortgage-forum-2011How many times have you heard, “it’s just an honour to be nominated“.  What rubbish! If you’re going to be nominated for an award you want the hardware.  A nomination gives you hope and the trophy is the validation.  We all need, and like, the validation.  Those who say it doesn’t matter are being disingenuous.  Even if the sentiment is sincere why wouldn’t you want people’s efforts to be acknowledged?  No one has ever won an award without the hard work of a lot of other people.  When you win an award there’s many finger prints on the trophy.

I take great pride in the fact that CAAMP won the award for Conference of The Year at the Canadian Event Industry Awards.  If you consider all the conferences that are held in Canada each year, the trophy is a significant accomplishment.  Mortgage Forum 2011 was a huge success, and that was confirmed by the survey results and from the numerous comments I received from attendees.   CAAMP took a gamble by changing up the conference, and the changes were well received.  The affiliation with the Art of Sales ensured that the line-up of speakers surpassed all previous conferences.  Tuesday turned into a full day of speaker sessions and it was impressive to see an audience of 2,220.  I remember standing at the back of the hall during one of the speaker sessions and saying to myself, “damn, it actually worked”.  When you make changes you never know how the changes will be received until you go live.  There’s a big divide between concept and execution.  The devil is in the detail, and the CAAMP staff didn’t miss a single detail.  I’ve got proof of that…it’s a nice shiny trophy.

Amanada-Lang-Mortgage-Forum-2012So how does CAAMP top last year’s conference at Mortgage Forum 2012 in Vancouver? It’s not going to be easy but they’re up for the challenge.  They’ll do what they always do, and that means they’ll put on a hell of a show.  CAAMP announced this week that Amanda Lang, CBC’s senior business correspondent, is returning as host of the Mortgage Forum 2012. That’s a fabulous start.  What’s also returning is CAAMP Comedy Fest; we’re in the process right now of signing a contract with the headliner.  I can’t say who it is yet but he’s gut busting funny.  There’s a good chance that you’ve seen him on the TV talk-show circuit or one of his HBO comedy specials.  Many of the speakers for the Tuesday’s portion of the conference have committed, and the theme for Tuesday is the Art of Marketing.  CAAMP will announce the speaker line-up in short order.  Trust me, you’ll be impressed.

It’s disclosure time.  I’m the conference chair for Mortgage Forum 2012, and I have a vested interest in the success of this conference.  Anytime you attach your name or reputation to something you want to make its successful.  So I’ll use every tool at my disposal to ensure success, up to an including, bravado, hype, spin and hyperbole.  Shooting from the lip is easier to do when you know there’s a group of highly killed individuals doing all the heavy lifting behind the scenes to ensure Mortgage Forum 2012 is the best conference we’ve ever had.  Is that spin on my part?  There’s an easy way to find out….see you at Mortgage Forum 2012 in Vancouver.

Until next time

Cheers

 

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0 Comments It Must Be Spring

Article written by on the 29 Mar 2012 in CAAMP

ontario-budget-cutsThere are signs that spring is really here.  No, it’s not the lack of snow on the ground or the unusually mild temperatures we’ve had here in Ontario.  It’s definitely not about the Leafs playing hockey beyond the regular season.  My understanding is that’s when the Stanley Cup play-downs or playoffs or whatever the hell they call it begins.  My memory fails me as I get older, and it’s hard to remember what hockey in the spring time is like in this city.  It’s not about a new baseball season which begins in one week.  No, it’s spring time because it’s budget time…isn’t that exciting boys and girls?   

Our “Daddy Premier” in Ontario gave everyone some bad news this week, especially if you’re one of the 1.2 million public servants in this province.  The Liberal government announced a wage freeze for all public servants, and they don’t mind biting the hand that voted for them.  According to the Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, the government will legislate a wage freeze if one cannot be negotiated.  There’s 4000 labour agreements in place today.  This has job action, strikes, rallies and public demonstrations written all over it.   The gauntlet may have been thrown down in the spring but this will carry forward and ensure a winter of discontent for us here in Ontario.  Never mind that all the austerity measures are necessary, and that the minority Liberal government had no choice but to ontario-provincial-budet-2012address the fiscal disaster which is the Ontario budget, the opposition will skewer the Liberals over this budget.  That being said the Liberal government doesn’t believe the opposition has the stones to defeat the government over this budget, resulting in an election.  This is a high stakes political game of chicken, and I suspect the Liberals are counting on the support of the NDP.  I think a deal’s done already. The Liberals have changed their mind on reducing corporate income to tax to 10% by next year.  The new budget states that corporate taxes will be frozen at 11.5% through 2017-2018.  That’s reason to celebrate in NDP world, and it’s not as if the Liberal and NDP haven’t openly discussed being bed buddies in the past.  Sure, those discussions have been at the federal level but I suspect their provincial siblings have taken note.   The next part of the process is for the liberals to stand up and pat themselves on the back for being responsible and doing what’s necessary to fix the problems we have in Ontario.  Really?  That’s like an arsonist  taking credit for helping to put out a fire he started.

I was reviewing all the cuts, wage freezes and cancelled programs when I came upon one initiative in the budget to increase revenue that made laugh out loud.   The Liberal government plans on opening up 25 new and larger liquor stores in Ontario every year.   Here’s what that means, “as a government we’re financially and morally bankrupt, we’re fiscally incompetent, we couldn’t organize a one car funeral…so come on Ontario…let’s get hammered”.

There’s another budget that we’ll be hearing about today, tomorrow and the day after and so on.

The Federal Budget will be introduced today, and there’s been a fair bit of speculation  as to what it may contain.  I’ll refrain from adding anything more to the speculation, and wait for the actual details before commenting any further.  You may not be aware of this but Jim Murphy, CAAMP President, was invited to Ottawa by the Finance Department to participate in the budget lock-up process.  These invited guests are sequestered in a room, and they get to review budget, spending plans, back ground papers and the actual speech before it’s delivered.   It’s also an opportunity for Jim to speak to senior government officials who will also be present.  It really is an honour for CAAMP, and Jim, to be invited to the sneak preview.  For those of you who may have missed CAAMP’s most recent message about their government relations effort, I encourage you to watch the video below:

Until next time.

Cheers

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0 Comments CAAMP: The Road Trip Begins

Article written by on the 28 Feb 2012 in CAAMP,Mortgage

Mortgage-ProfessionalsThis is going to be pretty busy year for me as relates to travel.  My work requires me to travel a fair bit as it is, but when I add my responsibilities as CAAMP Chair, well, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport will become a second home to me.  I’m not complaining in the least bit.  I signed up for this gig; therefore, I have to accept the responsibilities.  It would be tempting to only visit cities where I have a personal interest (i.e. Merix volumes) but if that was my motivation I should have never campaigned and ran for Chair.  The Chair has to separate his/her personal interests from that of the associations, and so it begins for me.

 The CAAMP road show begins today with the first symposium of the year in Kelowna, B.C.  It will eventually move across the country and I’m looking forward to talking to members in all regions of the country. (more…)

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6 Comments A Demonstration in Leadership

Article written by on the 13 Dec 2011 in CAAMP,Mortgage

Leadership can be defined in many ways.  Individuals who lead come in different shapes and sizes, and their personalities can be divergent.  Some leaders are vocal and have the appearance of strength.  Yet other leaders are more cerebral, they use intellect and instinct to lead rather than use force.  Irrespective of the personality type, they all share the same characteristic, the ability to view issues from a macro perspective.  Effective leaders have the ability to see three steps ahead, and believe with absolute conviction that  final decision is the right course of action.

I think we witnessed a demonstration in  leadership yesterday with the joint announcement from CAAMP and the MBABC. (more…)

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7 Comments Closing Thoughts on #CAAMP2011

Article written by on the 24 Nov 2011 in CAAMP

mortgage forum 2011Another CAAMP conference (Mortgage Forum 2011) has come and gone, and I’m looking forward to catching up on some sleep.  The sleep deprivation has nothing to do with indulging.  On the contrary, I was a good boy during the conference,  and even if I was tempted by all the distractions logic dictated discipline.  The meetings seemed endless during the conference, and no complaints on my part.  I signed up for the gig.  But I can take a deep breath now that the conference is over.

The Mortgage Forum 2011 was significantly different than the previous conferences.  There’s always a risk in trying something different but when you balance that against what could be, well, you have to go for it. (more…)

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0 Comments Mortgage Forum 2011

Article written by on the 22 Nov 2011 in CAAMP,Mortgage

At the CAAMP Mortgage Forum 2011. It’s an amazing conference!

Until next time,

Cheers

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0 Comments Chair of CAAMP – And So It Begins

Article written by on the 25 Oct 2011 in CAAMP,Mortgage

“It is with great humility that I take on the role as the Chair of CAAMP.  It’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly.  The next 12 to 24 months are going to be “interesting” for our industry.”

boris bozic

Last week I officially took over the role as CAAMP Chair.  It’s an interesting process to go through.  I say that because I had 12 months to prepare, and when the day finally arrived it was almost anticlimactic.  Upon reflection I realized the difficult part was being elected Vice-Chair.  The Vice-Chair automatically becomes the Chair the following year, therefore, one has to campaign and be elected Vice-Chair. (more…)

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1 Comments NYC – A City Like No Other

Article written by on the 04 Oct 2011 in Business,CAAMP,Current Events

I’m in New York this week attending the World Business Forum.  It’s been a few years since I’ve attended the conference, and I have to say that I regret that it’s taken me this long to go back.  The WBF subject matter and location is like no other.

WBF 2011 NYCLearning is not about confirming what I already know.”

There’s a vibe and buzz to New York which is unique.  You can feel the difference as soon as you disembark the plane.  It’s difficult to articulate other than to say the energy level is almost palatable.  Everyone seems to do things quicker.  It doesn’t matter if it’s customer service or something as simple as walking down the street.  I get this sense that a New Yorker’s brain is wired to think “let’s go, let’s go, let’s go”. (more…)

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1 Comments CAAMP Elections: Here We Vote Again

Article written by on the 20 Sep 2011 in CAAMP,Mortgage,Uncategorized

Ah, but this time it’s not about casting a vote in a federal, provincial or municipal campaign.  We here in Ontario will exercise our democratic right in early October, the pre-set date for the Provincial election in Ontario, the election I’m referring to is the upcoming CAAMP Board election. As someone who has campaigned twice I can assure you the process of getting elected is as political as any other election.  It takes organization and a commitment of time and resources to get elected.  To all the individuals that have put their names forward to run this year, I commend them for their courage and willingness to volunteer their time for the greater good. (more…)

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2 Comments We Listened.

Article written by on the 28 Jul 2011 in CAAMP

Firstly, I’ll admit that I’m totally biased when it comes to the CAAMP Mortgage Forum. The reason being is that I am the Conference Chair this year, and I’ve witnessed first-hand the effort the CAAMP staff has made to ensure that this conference surpasses all others. It’s not easy putting on an event of this size and magnitude. As a delegate I would show up to the conference, take in the experience, and give zero thought to the amount of work it takes to pull something like this off. That all changed for me when I became Conference Chair last year. I came to realize there’s a bunch of unsung heroes who work tirelessly in the background to make it all happen.

Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals CAAMP Change
Besides the effort required to make the conference actually happen, what’s really required for improvement is a willingness to change. Based on the amount of changes taking place this year it will be clear to all – the CAAMP staff has embraced the idea of change. Changes to the conference were required because our members told us so. The survey results clearly indicated the conference needed a facelift, a shot of adrenaline, there was too much same old, same old.

I’m proud to say that change is coming, and here’s a preview of some of the changes.

One of the changes I’m most excited about is on the Sunday -
We dedicate two days to the Expo/Trade Show, Sunday and Monday. This year Sunday’s Expo will be a little different. It will be our first CAAMP Career Day. We will invite university and college students to attend the Expo on Sunday. My goal is to have between 300 to 400 students attend the Expo. I believe it is important to introduce this amazing industry to the next generation. It will be difficult for this industry to grow organically if we don’t encourage the brightest to consider becoming a mortgage broker, lender, insurer etc. Wouldn’t it benefit us all if people didn’t just bump into this industry? Imagine the talent pool available if students actually considered this industry as career path while still in school. We may not see the benefits of doing this for years to come, but we have start at some point. We’re starting this year.”

Amanda Lang Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage ProfessionalsMonday will be dedicated to industry issues.
The format is changing somewhat in so much that Amanda Lang, Sr. Business Correspondent for the CBC, will act as the host and interviewer. Panelists and speakers on Monday will be interviewed on stage by Ms. Lang. My thinking is let the pro’s do what they do best. Some of the best insights come from a Q and A. Who better to ask the questions than a professional journalist? By the way, the keynote speaker on Monday is Canada’s 16th Prime Minister, the Rt Hon, Joe Clark.

Monday lunch will feature sports industry legend, Terry Bradshaw. NFL studio personality and a multi-Emmy and award-winning broadcaster on Fox’s NFL Sunday. Named Sports Illustrated’s Man of the Year award, the list goes on.

 

 

Howie Mandel Canadian Association of Mortgage Professionals CAAMPMonday night is also changing significantly.
For the past decade Monday night was known for LenderFest. As a point of reference, over a decade ago a decision was made to organize a grand party, which would encourage the attendees to socialize under one roof. A number of lenders sponsored the event, and it was cost-effective way of throwing a bash. Thus Lender Fest was born. For a number of years it worked but recently LenderFest has lost some of its luster. So it was decided that we do something different, but at the same time ensure a great night of entertainment. Ladies and gentlemen I invite you to join us at the first ever CAAMP Comedy Fest. The headliner?…Howie Mandel!…Now that’s cool.

Tuesday will also bring big changes.
I’ll share with you how the Tuesday came about. Some six months ago I received an electronic conference brochure from a company called The Art Of. They specialize in sales, marketing and leadership conferences. I was intrigued by their brochure and I invited them to a meeting in my office. They gladly accepted because they thought I was interested in being a sponsor at their conference. I must confess I didn’t say or do anything to dispel them of that notion. When the meeting finally took place I dropped this on them, would they consider doing a joint conference with CAAMP? To say the least they were surprised by my offer, but in short order they saw the possibilities. In a short period of time an agreement was negotiated with CAAMP. The Art Of is bringing in some of the best speakers we’ve ever had on the Tuesday. All of them are renowned speakers and New York Times best-selling authors.


For a list of confirmed speakers visit our website at: http://www.mortgageconference.ca
You’ll be impressed with the line-up. Oh, one of the biggest differences for Tuesday, it’s a full day.

As the conference chair it’s my responsibility to provide vision and direction. But I want to be very clear, the real work is being done by Michael Ellenzweig, and all the staff at CAAMP. And they’re about to get a whole lot busier.

Until next time

Cheers

For more information and to register for the conference, please visit: http://www.mortgageconference.ca/
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