Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RBC to brokers: We apologize

By Vernon Clement Jones | 19/04/2011 9:36:00 AM |
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With multiple statements, RBC moved to distance itself from the controversial flyer of one of its mobile mortgage specialists – apologizing for its unflattering and inaccurate depiction of brokers.

“The RBC brand is defined by our clients and partners and we sincerely apologize for the inaccurate information that was presented in the document,” wrote RBC Public Affairs Advisor Nicole Fisher, in a letter to broker associations in Western Canada.

The bank was offering the same message in the east, with Ian Colvin, RBC’s senior manager for communications in British Columbia, telling Monday, “The opinions expressed in the document by the mortgage specialist do not reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of RBC. We are following up directly with this mortgage specialist to ensure future collateral accurately reflects the RBC brand.”

The crisis communication follows leak of a document written by an RBC mobile mortgage specialist in BC and trading in stereotypes about the broker channel. The flyer, in fact, purports to highlight the educational, philosophical and operational differences between brokers and bank-employed mortgage specialists. It effectively casts the former in a negative light.
“Brokers will charge set up fees and have other hidden costs you should be aware of,” reads the undated document  -- “Understanding the difference between mortgage specialists and mortgage brokers.” An RBC logo and the name of one of its British Columbia mortgage specialists appear on the flyer. 
It continues: “Brokers will farm out your mortgage to a number of companies and then will set you up with a financial institution based on only the lowest rate, no other factors.” And, it continues: “When selling your mortgage, the broker and the financial institutions reviewing your file may pull numerous credit bureau requests depending on their software capabilities.”
The RBC comments follow on the heels of a article exposing the document. Earlier attempts to win a comment from the bank and the author of the flyer were unsuccessful. RBC’s statements do not address what if any disciplinary steps against the mortgage specialist have been taken. Many brokers are now calling for formal censure.
“Let’s hope they do the right thing and remove this lady from their ranks,” wrote one broker commenting on the initial article Monday.
Still, others are concerned her attitudes may reflect the long-standing corporate philosophy RBC -- the only big bank in this country that has never used external brokers.
“We are almost grateful that this has been put in writing because this is stuff that has been verbalized for years,” veteran B.C. broker John Ribalkin, president of Verico Nova Fiuancial Services and a CAAMP Hall of Fame recipient. “I’ve never minded competition as long as all parties maintain a fair and equitable level. The marketplace does not need demeaning comments from one party to another.”

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