• Working in the financial business for over 25 years, you begin to realize that privacy and security are extremely important to protect clients. Recently, I returned from a short trip to Washington D.C and I could not believe the amount of security there. The White House had barriers outside the gated fence. Cameras are everywhere along with the FBI, the Secret Service, the regular Washington Police and even the parks police! As a Canadian mortgage broker living in Hamilton, I should be more concerned about low mortgage rates, the housing market and the state of the economy. These are things that are more important in my world, but this got me thinking about how Canada has changed over the years. Below I will state several incidences that have happened to me recently regarding increased security.

    My wife and I went to the Pan Am games to watch Canada play soccer. At the gate, we were asked to go through a metal detector and remove any loose change or keys from my pocket. Since I go to a lot of sporting events, this was definitely a first for me.

    Not too long ago, a client came in for some mortgage advice. The bank is NOT allowed to give me the information since it is not my mortgage (this is something that I completely agree with). In my office, the client called the bank to receive her mortgage information. After 15 minutes of waiting for the service, my client then had to go through 5 additional minutes of personal questions for security reasons. The question we needed answered? What the current balance of her mortgage was. To both of us, the security seemed a little bit overboard, and the client was not too happy.

    Another financial institution questioned a client’s down payment when there was a $2000 deposit. There were two honest kids who had cash at home. They were not part of a terrorist organization. But the banks really gave them a hard time for security reasons.

    Last Saturday I was right by the Rogers Centre when the Jays game had ended. I asked my cousin from Europe if we wanted to see inside. He said yes. When we approached the stadium, the security did not let us in because we did not have a ticket. Once I stated that the game had ended, he said that we posed as a security risk. We did? That was news to me.

    I realize that the world is a different place now and that security is required but we are all catering to the very small minority. Being a sports fan, I have visited a lot of stadiums with the joy of stadium employees. We are certainly losing our innocence.

    The mortgage industry currently has a lot of fraud. It is probably due to the low mortgage interest rates and the speculation of the real estate market. But I truly believe that 99% of Canadians are good law abiding citizens. Today, the banks scrutinize their applications like they are up to no good. It is not a good feeling asking their mortgage holders for continuous documentation from these over-protective lenders. The client’s relationship with the lender does not begin well. I have many clients telling me that they do not like how they are being treated and have asked to be sent elsewhere to another financial institution. The problem here? Every lender is asking for basically the same documentation. First time homeowners begin the mortgage process happily and finish exasperated. I truly hope that this third degree changes because it leaves nearly nobody happy in the end.

    Robert Floris is an independent mortgage broker at Mortgage Architects in Hamilton, Ontario.

%d bloggers like this: