Is an awareness campaign necessary?
Few people really know what a mortgage broker does.- Some facts are indisputable; broker market share is trending in the wrong direction.
We must create a stable industry. This requires us to make this industry known and to attract the brightest so they can become the next generation of brokers, lenders and insurers.
Public awareness has been a topic of discussion in the mortgage broker industry for some time now. It appears there’s a consensus that perhaps now is the time to create a public awareness campaign for the broker industry. This is not unlike the recent campaign by the Insurance Bureau of Canada to enhance public awareness about their respective industry. I’ve had numerous discussions with industry leaders about this very issue, and it’s clear there is a will. Ah, but is there a way? Of course there is, it’s called money and who’s going to pay for it? Creating public awareness through brand identification or defining what mortgage brokers do through an ad campaign is not cheap. Let me rephrase that, it’s expensive. To do it properly, and effectively, every mortgage broker will have to contribute. It’s unrealistic to believe that someone else will subsidize the cost, i.e. the suppliers. A commitment to a public awareness campaign will take significant resources, and a commitment to supporting the cause over a long period of time. A two month campaign is a waste of good money. Like you, I’m not enamored with the idea of wasting good money. By the way, is there such a thing as “bad money”? If there is, I don’t want to waste that either.
I guess a fundamental question industry stakeholders will have asked themselves is, “is an awareness campaign necessary”? There are varying degrees of necessity and each stakeholder will determine if there’s a compelling reason to participate in a campaign. Some stakeholders may want to maintain the status quo. One could take a ‘let’s hope’ approach. Things are okay today so why should I worry about the future, I’ll always get mine. Some stakeholders may be reluctant to participate because such a campaign may impact negatively on other distribution channels. Some stakeholders may say they reached their limit from economic standpoint. Irrespective of position or viewpoint, some facts are indisputable; broker market share is trending in the wrong direction. Secondly, human capital and organic growth has to be addressed. Creating a stable industry, with long-term property, requires us to make this industry known and to attract the brightest so they can become the next generation of brokers, lenders and insurers.
In my humble estimation, the most compelling reason to take part in an awareness campaign is because few people really know what a mortgage broker does. According to a Meritz survey, which was commissioned by CAAMP, over 2/3 of the respondents said they did not have a good understanding of what a mortgage broker does. How many cars would car companies sell if 2/3 of consumers really didn’t know what a car was? The example is extreme but I think you get the point. What percentage of the populace, if surveyed, would know what a realtor, an insurance broker or financial planner really does? I’m not sure of the results but I’m fairly confident numbers would better than the mortgage industry.
If a solution and a way to undertake such a campaign were to be found, it may prove to be a turning point for the industry. That’s not hyperbole. How many times in this industry have competitors got together, and agreed to put their own interest aside for the betterment of the greater good. This will only work if brokers can come to an understanding and if they agree they need to do this for their business today and in the future. Kudos to the leaders of the largest brokerage firms who are willing to explore the possibility. It will take great leadership, resolve and vision to make this happen. Should it not come to fruition, let’s hope it’s not from a lack of trying.
Until next time