At Robert Floris’s Mortgage Architects office in Hamilton, we try to share our thoughts as if our roles were reversed and we were the reader. Today, we will touch upon a very sensitive subject, bank loyalty. Not a week goes by where a client will indicate how disappointed they are with their current financial institution. Inside I laugh, but I shouldn’t as one time I felt the same way.
    As some of you may be aware that I grew up in the Barton/Sherman area of Hamilton. This was also known as Little Italy. Although my parents were Italian immigrants, my dad really believed in this country. One trait the Italians quickly learned was that if you required something, save for it with cash. I’m sure people today will laugh. Well not so fast. These grade 3 and un-educated immigrants retired well and with money. In many ways they were much wiser with their money. They invested in productive assets or businesses which made them money. They did live by debt but grew with productivity which enriched everyone’s life.
    When I was in the banking world, our staffs (including me) were under constant pressure to keep selling debt. I remember I kept thinking, how is this going to help this family. In the vast majority of cases, the debt was not for productive reasons but to live in the moment. Our country has forgotten that good debt can be positive but Canada’s current debt level is among the highest in the world. This will come back to affect us all. We wasted this opportunity to build this country properly.
    Let’s discuss specific debts like mortgages. Every day clients call to share what their specific bank is offering. Their financial institutions want to know what you know. Needless to say if you are not educated they will not offer you the lowest mortgage rate. Our proof is with customers. We ask them to innocently ask for the current mortgage rates with their own bank. Then we ask these same clients to call us back where we offer our current rates. Afterwards our clients will call the bank and indicate they spoke with Robert Floris Mortgage Architects office and magically they seem to match our rates. Is this what you call loyalty? It is my experience that the Big Chartered Banks will only do something to make money or save money when a transaction is involved. I get that, they are a bank and need to be profitable. The problem is, that it is my money. I have to be loyal to my family. Giving extra cash to prop up shareholder value does not excite me.
    Are all banks bad? Generally, not really. Try my philosophy; I am loyal to good people in banks. There are some representatives who genuinely care. This is what a relationship should be, a win win situation. Our financial system is needed to keep our country strong and stable but not at the expense of exploiting uneducated clients. It is very easy to educate yourself, be loyal to yourself and you will feel a lot better.

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