I suspect by now you’ve heard the news that CIBC has decided to wind down it’s broker brand, FirstLine Mortgages. The industry has been rife with rumors about FirstLine’s future for some time now. CIBC finally had to confirm that FirstLine was in play, for sale. There was chatter that a sale was imminent and that the FirstLine brand may survive but in the end it ended up being “the end” for FirstLine.
CIBC made a business decision to wind down FirstLine, and not being privy to the facts it would be inappropriate on my part to say if they were right or wrong to do this. I will say this, it’s a shame. Firstline played a major role in the development and growth of the mortgage broker channel. Many moons ago I worked for CIBC/FirstLine, as the Area Franchise Manager, Western Canada, for Mortgage Centre Canada. I thought about about some of the people I worked with back then, and the others who at one time worked for FirstLine. Many of our industry leaders today were at one time employed by Firstline. To me this is a mark of an organization that prided themselves on hiring the best people, for many of these people went on to lead other organizations. FirstLine always had a reputation for being the best. They set the standard for all others to follow. As a competitor, on more than one occasion, I would curse their name. I did so out of begrudging respect. I always wanted to beat them but not this way.
In time FirstLine will fade from our memory. But before that happens I think we should reflect on the importance of FirstLine, and the contribution this brand made to our industry. No one should take delight in this announcement. As a former customer and a present day competitor, I want to thank FirstLine for their historical relevance and for the contribution they made towards legitimizing our industry.
Until next time,