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B.C.’s Mortgage Brokers Stay Sharp Through Professional Development

The regulatory bodies and support networks for B.C.’s mortgage brokers ensure its professionals are masters of their industry

As British Columbians work toward turning their dream of owning a own home into a reality, more and more people are looking to the help of mortgage brokers. And as more consumers learn about the services, skills and resources of mortgage brokers, the industry itself is evolving.

According to the Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. (MBABC), 55 per cent of first-time homebuyers used the services of a mortgage broker in 2014, up from 50 per cent in 2013.

Mortgage brokers’ funding activity in B.C. totals about $15 billion a year, while across the country, that activity amounts to as much as $80 billion a year.

“Out of a mortgage marketplace worth between about $200 billion and $250 billion, that’s significant,” says Ajay Soni, president of the Mortgage Brokers Association of British Columbia and a mortgage broker of more than 27 years. “The alternative sources of funding only mortgage brokers can tap into help fuel our economy.”

Mortgage brokers are regulated by provincial legislation, which varies throughout the country; in some provinces, there’s no related legislation at all. The B.C. Mortgage Brokers Act, which came into effect in 1971, requires mortgage brokers to relicense every two years to ensure their skills are fresh and they have the most up-to-date knowledge as it relates to their profession. The Mortgage Brokers Institute of British Columbia (MBIBC), a branch of the MBABC, provides professional education to mortgage brokers that complies with the standards set by the Financial Institutions Commission.

“Through the Mortgage Brokers Institute of B.C., B.C. is at the forefront in terms of licensing in Canada, with the highest standards for mortgage brokers in Canada,” Soni says.

To get relicensed, mortgage brokers must take three courses: a regulatory update seminar or webinar as well as two online modules offered by the MBIBC. The requirements raise the bar for brokers in the province and enhance their professional development. It’s vital for brokers to keep on top of regulatory changes, legislative amendments, new compliance issues, risk reduction techniques and emerging issues affecting industry and consumers alike. Mandatory relicensing education helps accomplish those goals.

“This requirement brings credibility to the industry and protects the public,” Soni says. “It ensures mortgage brokers in B.C. are up-to-date on best practices and industry regulations.”

The MBABC and the MBIBC also recently launched the MBI credentialling program, a certification and credential standard available to registered mortgage brokers. It allows qualified brokers to use the distinct “MBI”, or Mortgage Brokers Institute, credential after successful completion of the MBIBC relicensing courses, identifying them as professionals within the Canadian mortgage and finance industry. It is a Mortgage Broker only designation.

“This designation also means that members must subscribe to the code of ethics of the association,” Soni says.

The MBABC offers regional professional development seminars, a continuing education component, in the Okanagan, on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland. Seminars are offered throughout the year featuring hot topics of interest and practical knowledge, with professional speakers and collaborative events, such as fraud seminars delivered by the Mortgage Broker Regulators’ Council of Canada and sessions on legal liability. Then there is its annual conference and trade show.

“Continuing professional development opportunities are important,” Soni says. “We’re working together for the betterment of the industry.”