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What You Need to Know About Foreclosures THE INDUSTRY'S 'F' WORD

Do your homework before shopping for e&O insurance ALSO Private Mortgage Lenders Forum Open for Business INSIDE


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Matters is a quarterly magazine which provides fundamental information to members of the provincial association, offering an opportunity for the industry members to be educated, updated and entertained. Toll Free: 1.888.452.2652 Phone: 403.685.9652 Fax: 403.685.9682 Email: Web: Suite 200, 1940 9 Ave. SE Calgary, AB T2G 0V2

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Happy (re)new Year! Amba membership details

do your homework before shopping for e&O insurance

How much would you pay for legal defense?

Privacy: a fine balance pipa and the right to free speech

Social Centre: how do you measure engagement?

why join amba? Member testimonies







Shattering the Glass Ceiling Congratulations Hali Strandlund

shake, rattle and bowl Bowling Photos

OTHER FEATURES... Manager’s Report 4 President’s Remarks 6 Albert Economic Outlook for 2014 10 AMBA Sponsorship Opportunites 33 Industry News 36 AMBA Calendar 38

Amba 2013-2014

Board of Directors President Gord Appel TMG

Past President Ron McClenaghan Invis

Vice President Adil Mawji Invis

Treasurer Phil McDowell Mortgages Are Marvellous

Education Director Ryan Spence D+H

Government Relations Layne Walters TMG

Professional Development Frank Petrin CML Canadian Mortgage Lender

Regional Outreach Cathy Sehn Verico Brokers for Life Inc.

Events Erica Fikkert Equitable Bank

Risk Management Kevin Weeks Weeks Law

Membership Tracey Robinson Mortgage Protection Plan

Membership Dale Koeller Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corp.

Publication Manager and Editor - Stephanie Weidmann

Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association Suite 200, 1940 9 Ave. SE Calgary, AB T2G 0V2 Photo credit for some photos used within this issue of AMBA Matters ©




WINTER 2013 Deborah Keshen AMBA General Manager

2014, a Year for Change It has been a busy year in terms of regulations and legislation. 2014 looks to be equally busy in this area and having AMBA as the industry voice has never been more important. RECA is working on one document that will encompass disclosures on relationships and compensation. The initial draft was very long and asked for information such as property address which you all know is not possible to enter at the beginning of a client relationship. While the intent of ensuring clear communication is a good one, input from the Broker Council, of which AMBA is a strong component, is important to ensure the end result is a workable form the industry can embrace.

The issue of the Land Titles Registry is ongoing. You may have read one of the articles recently published on the issue. The Government is looking to ensure the Alberta Public is well served in a cost effective manner which is a goal we can all support. With the importance of the Land Registry that has to be balanced with a need to ensure our reliable, effective system remains for the benefit of the entire real estate community including the consumer. The Government has listened to our concerns and has hired a consultant to work with each of the contributing organizations to identify a solution that will work for all concerned. As this process unfolds AMBA will keep our membership informed regarding the consultation process. MBRCC (Mortgage Broker Regulator’s Council of Canada) has been quite active this year and with a strategic planning session planned for 2014 that will not abate any time soon. Recently MBRCC put out a paper on Material Risks and asked for comments. The MBRCC paper can be found on their website at: The goal of the paper was to outline the MBRCC desire to populate their website with key data that would inform and empower the consumer with respect to mortgages. AMBA responded that while we support this goal, the language used seems to be promoting the problems of using a mortgage broker rather than areas to think about before taking out a mortgage. There is a careful line that needs to be taken between properly ensuring consumers understand



risks with any financial transaction and making the transaction itself sound like a bad idea under any circumstances. The full response from AMBA can be found online at in the 'Member Zone'

To further ensure that the MBRCC is aware of key issues from the industry perspective AMBA partnered with IMBA, MBAAC and MBABC (provincial associations in Ontario, BC and Atlantic Canada) to put forward an outline on four key concerns around education, suitability, regulating bank representatives and principal based regulation. Working together the Associations were able to article these issues and present them to the MBRCC at their November meeting with an offer to expand on any or all prior to the May 2014 Strategic Planning event. Why these issues? The issues have to relate to something that will impact the industry and require input or action from the different regulators.


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MTG_AMBA 07-2013

President’S Remarks

WINTER 2013 Gord Appel AMBA President

It's cold and the malls are busy taking down their holiday decorations, which means it must be January. With the new year ahead of us, like many of you find myself reflecting on the year that was. 2013 was a busy year for AMBA, we had our inaugural Alt-A symposium in January, held our first ever Broker of Record meetings (in both Edmonton and Calgary) we began a regional outreach program started with Lethbridge and Medicine Hat) and launched a new pre-licensing course.  While I am very proud of these accomplishments, it’s the day to day of AMBA that makes me most proud to be a part of this association.  Did you know that for 38 years now AMBA has been the voice of the Mortgage Broker industry in Alberta, representing all of us with the public, the regulator and with government? 

These efforts continued in 2013 when we had meetings with government to address the potential privatization of the land titles registry and the proposed changes to the Real Estate Act.

We worked closely with RECA to deliver a new top tier pre-licensing course and determine what the impact of proposed Act changes might have on our industry, we even initiated talks with CAAMP in an effort to provide better and more efficient representation with all levels of government and in all marketplaces.

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FIND AMBA ON Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter! 6


Follow us @AMBA1975

2013 saw the end of an era as Gary Siegle passed the torch to Pat Kelly as the Mortgage Brokers Representative to RECA. A big thank you on behalf of the industry to Gary who held the role for 6 years. While he has left the role, Gary remains a very active member of our association and our industry.    

While it’s always important to reflect on the year that has past I always find it energizing to look to the year ahead, particularly when you live in a province such as ours! Markets throughout this great province will continue on the path they are on with a decidedly upward trend, rates will also remain on the path they are on and stay historically low, which makes for quite a combination! 

I am very proud of these accomplishments, it’s the day to day of AMBA that makes me most proud to be a part of this association.

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happy (re)new year! It’s a new year and that means it is time to renew your AMBA Membership. You may already be making great use of your membership, but why not resolve to make the most of it? AMBA offers its members access to exclusive industry events. Over the past year we have strived to offer a mix of educational activities and networking opportunities to help you thrive in our ever-changing industry. The ‘Member Zone’ at is full of useful resources as well. From our FTA Disclosure Generator to our Private Lenders Disclosure form, your membership is an all access pass to the best our industry has to offer. Being an AMBA Member comes with a huge variety of benefits that can assist you when interacting with clients or building your business, you just have to know how to access them. To locate member discounts, simply log into the ‘Member Zone’ at and scroll down to the ‘Discounts for AMBA Members’ button.

AMBA Members are eligible for discounts on: Esso Gas Save 2.6 cents per litre on gas, and further discounts on oil, topup fluids and car wash Telus Save up to 20 % on corporate plans including Call waiting, call conference, caller ID, Voicemail Free incoming calls Unlimited text messages Up to 25% off email marketing with Constant Contact

But benefits don’t stop with discounts. AMBA members also have access to a wide range of services.

Errors & Omissions Insurance AMBA and the PROLINK Insurance Group have partnered to develop a customized, industry-leading E & O Liability Insurance program meeting the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s specific requirements for mortgage brokerages.. The AMBA Insurance Program is the most comprehensive insurance plan available to mortgage brokers. Visit PROLINK Insurance Group online or contact 1-800-663-6828 and ask about the AMBA Insurance Program

The Personal Insurance Company The Personal Insurance Company is our exclusive provider of home and auto group insurance for AMBA members. The advantages of the Personal include preferred rates, special discounts and exceptional service. AMBA members, their spouses and dependants are all eligible for this new program. The Personal provides home and auto insurance products to suit a variety of needs. They also insure mobile homes, cottages, swimming pools, personal watercraft, motorcycles, ATVs and more. Auto insurance customers can enjoy additional savings with the winter tire discount and student rates, and offers the $0 deductible option. To take advantage of this new benefit and get a quote now, contact the Personal at 1.888.476.8737 or go online at:

Lead Generation Systems iToolPro offers comprehensive online marketing and website services to Mortgage professionals. iToolPro offers extensive mortgage-specific website packages which are designed to offer limitless growth options. Award-winning websites are professional, attractive, easy to use and can be launched instantly! Renewing your membership is simple and only takes a few minutes. If you are having trouble logging on to to renew, just contact Renee Price at 403-685-9652.

Need some help renewing? See page 21 for our Web How To article for an easy step by step instruction



Alberta Economic Outlook For 2014 2014 should be a great time to be an Albertan, according to economic forecasts for the coming year. The province’s already strong economy is showing all the signs of a boom on the horizon and that’s a reason for business owners and consumers to get excited. According the the RBC Economics Provincial Outlook, Alberta is likely to be Canada’s economic leader in 2014. The GDP of the province is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent in 2014, following a solid 3.3 percent increase in 2013. These numbers are of course bolstered by heavy investment in the energy sector - a trend that should continue throughout the new year. Naturally, these investments will be key to the growth of the GDP, but expanding investment across all economic sectors will drive numbers up ore quickly. RBC’s findings are is backed up by a report released by the Conference Board of Canada. The report states that Alberta has been the largest contributor to economic growth in Canada for the past three years - even bigger than the powerhouse economies of central Canada. Finance Alberta released its own economic outlook in the second quarter of 2013. Though the report cautions that the expected increase in real GDP growth is - in large part- due to post-flood reconstruction, there is still a lot to be positive about.

If you build it, they will come Our strong labour market continues to lure people to Alberta in droves. During 2013, more than 100,000 migrants made their way to the province in search of jobs. This migration has spurred on industries like construction while increasing consumer spending. At 2.6 per cent, employment growth was far stronger than predicted in 2013, more or less matching 2012 job growth. That rate of job growth would ordinarily result in a large dip in unemployment, however Alberta’s surging population has helped to balance those numbers, unemployment held steady between 4.3 and 5.0 percent last year.

Welcome the new neighbours 2013 saw Alberta’s population leap past the 4 million mark. A 3.5 per cent jump in the population late last year - an increase not seen since 1981. Population growth is expected to cool down slightly in 2014 with most predictions coming in at around 2.6 per cent growth. However, all this growth still means great things for the housing industry. Economists predict that 2014 will once again see an increase in residential investment, causing Alberta to buck the national housing trend once more. Housing trends are further buoyed by new migrants and the Alberta floods.

Albertans open their wallets Finally, it should be no surprise to anyone that consumers are firmly in the drivers seat when it comes to the Alberta Economy. Household spending accounted for roughly one third of the province’s economic growth in 2013, a trend continued to continue into 2014. Economists are forecasting spending to increase by 4.1 per cent this year. Oddly, a major contributor to household spending was vehicle purchases - which are typically a volatile market. Once again, the June floods played a major roll in in this market with many people needing to replace their flood damaged cars.

External risks that pose a threat to our strong economy Global economic conditions remain weak Large swings in the price of oil due to lack of spare pipeline capacity and refinery disruptions A slow down of emerging markets that would effect oil prices Stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth A drop in the Canadian dollar

10 WINTER 2013

Do your homework before shopping for E&O insurance By Frank Petrin No one likes to plan for the worst, but being prepared for anything is the best way to ensure you and your business are covered – no matter what. E&O insurance is essential to making sure your business and reputation is protected from all professional liability lawsuits and compensatory damages awarded to claimants. A little planning before you shop for E&O insurance can make the process a lot smoother and ensure that you are getting the best possible coverage that suits your organization. Before you start the search for your E&O coverage, you should have the following information available;

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The previous years funded mortgage volume broken down by: • units • dollar volume • total revenue earned • type of mortgage and lenders.

An accurate picture of the Brokerages operation is needed to fairly assess risk to the insurer. A Brokerage that generates higher numbers in the private lending arena vs. mainstream conventional and insured mortgages can expect a different level of pricing. Guessing or providing inaccurate information of the brokerages operations could impede or disqualify you in the event of a claim.

3 4

A written statement outlining any loss experience, allegations of loss, violations of privacy or data breaches. If any of the previous events have occurred get the facts documented, including the resolution and have this included in any application you make. As with most insurance a claim history or potential claims will have an impact on determining your pricing.

A statement describing the experience of the Broker of Record and the Mortgage Associates. A statement highlighting your experience and that of your Associates can positively impact your premium. i.e. A Broker with many years of experience or other related experience may be viewed as less likely to be involved in a claim thus affording him or her a lower premium.

These are just some of the many factors insurers will utilize in determining the premium level for your Brokerage. Being prepared with accurate and complete information not only insures you are buying what you need, but also shows the insurer that you are a highly competent individual and have a well-run organization. Overall Insurers will look upon this favourably and it may have an impact on your pricing.

Revenue for the previous year broken down by: • sales commissions • fee income • administration fee income • construction mortgage income • mortgage life insurance income.

Similar to funded mortgage volume, an accurate snap shot of where the Brokerage is earning its income is necessary in understanding the organization. Is the Brokerage earning a higher percentage of its revenue from Mortgage Admin and Construction Mortgages vs. sales commissions and fees? Not all Insurers are the same and some may choose to favour certain income generation models over others.



Would you rather pay $60-75 a year for legal defense or $500 an hour? While no company wants to plan for being investigated by RECA, audited by the Canada Revenue Agency audit or running into legal issues such as landlord-tenant disputes or a speeding ticket, the reality is these happen every day. Any good risk management plan needs a contingency to deal with these circumstances and AMBA in partnership with LMS Prolink will offer a unique program that will provide just that. Log in to the ‘Member Zone’ at and find out how you can be covered and the other fantastic services LMS Prolink offers to AMBA Members. As an AMBA member, you have access to even more protection. As you are already aware, RECA requires that you purchase an E&O insurance policy, but not all policies are created equal. AMBA has partnered with LMS PROLINK to ensure members have access to the best possible coverage, resources and advice.

PLUS What? Brokerages buying their E&O insurance through the AMBA E&O program can upgrade their policy to include:

1. Legal Expense Insurance; and

Risk Management Services AMBA offers members an industry leading E&O policy which extends cover to mortgages arranged with private lenders. The majority of E&O claims against mortgage brokers are related to private mortgages. AMBA and LMS PROLINK have developed a comprehensive disclosure form for members to use with private lenders. LMS PROLINK has worked closely with AMBA to develop a comprehensive suite of insurance coverages designed to address the unique challenges faced by Mortgage Brokers. Our product offering includes:

1. Errors & Omissions Liability The Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA) and LMS PROLINK have partnered to offer a customized E&O Liability insurance program meeting the speciï¬c requirements of mortgage brokerages licensed in Alberta and operating across Canada.

2. Cyber and Privacy Expense Insurance. Legal fees generally cost $500 per hour. For as little as $150 per year a brokerage can add Legal Expense Insurance which includes coverage for: • Defence of RECA investigations against the brokerage; • Legal defence of corporate matters; • Defence of Cyber and Privacy Breaches; • Tax Protection for Canada Revenue Agency Audits; •

Unlimited legal telephone advice for the principals of the brokerage.

Professional Protection: • RECA approved E&O Liability insurance underwritten by Liberty International Underwriters. • Flexible amounts of coverage ranging from $500,000 per loss up to $2,000,000 per loss. • All associates and employees automatically covered under the policy. • Covers mortgages arranged institutional lenders.




• Fraud coverage is automatically included for all licensed brokers and associates. • Flexible deductible options for even greater savings. • Covers your defense costs (legal, adjustors, etc.) and the damages awarded to claimants. • Deductible does NOT apply if damages are NOT paid to the third party claiming against you. • Full prior acts coverage for the brokerage. The policy will cover services rendered by all associates since the inception of the brokerage. • Libel and slander claims from lenders and borrowers are NOT excluded.



Protecting Your Interests Brokerage members now have access to Legal Expense Insurance starting at only $150 per year if your brokerage buys E&O Insurance through LMS PROLINK. This coverage provides Members with legal representation for many personal and business circumstances and UNLIMITED access to telephone legal advice. It's like having a lawyer on retainer!

RECA Compliance Representation Your RECA licence is your lifeline. This policy will entitle you to legal representation to defend you if you are facing disciplinary charges by RECA!

CRA Tax Audits You’ve filed your tax returns on time and as required. But what if you are reassessed and you disagree with the tax man? This policy provides both legal and accounting representation to prove your case!

Legal Defence Coverage for your legal defence costs for: 

an alleged criminal offence; or

allegations that you failed to comply with requirements under privacy legislation.

Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act places stringent requirements on brokerages.

Unlimited Telephone Legal Advice Receive confidential legal advice over the phone regarding any business or personal legal matter. This service is available 7 days a week and will help you address situations such as: 

Employment situations – whether you’re an employer or an employee;

Understanding laws and regulations and how it is affecting you;

Business disputes;

Family law matters.

LMS PROLINK Ltd. P: 800 663 6828 | E:

WHO IS PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS? Join the Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA)

Visit for more information. Please refer to the policy working for a complete list of coverages and exclusions.

2. Financial Institution Bonds

Why Consider a Financial Institution Bond? The Alberta Securities Commission ("ASC") requires that organizations administering Mortgage Investment Corporations ("MICs") and Mortgage Syndications purchase a Financial Institution Bond compliant with the registration requirements set out under National Instruments 31-103. All firms who are active as Investment Fund Managers, Restricted Portfolio Managers or Exempt Market Dealers must apply for registration with the ASC and buy an approved Bond.

Why is the AMBA Program Valuable? AMBA and LMS PROLINK developed a Financial Institution Bond program specifically for members required to be registered with the ASC under the National Instruments 31-103. LMS PROLINK is the AMBA Insurance Program Manager for Errors & Omissions Liability and Commercial Insurance solutions. LMS PROLINK has experience in providing Financial Institution Bonds to companies registered with NI 31-103. Members receive a 10% discount of standard rates. The AMBA program insurer, Trisura Guarantee Company, already offers one of the lowest premiums in the country. The additional 10% discount will ensure that members get the best possible value.

What is a Financial Institution Bond? The Bond really represents a Crime insurance policy protecting you and your clients. Crime/Fidelity insurance offers companies protection against losses they may incur as a result of fraudulent acts by individuals (employees or outside parties). The AMBA Bond provides coverage for circumstances involving computer systems fraud as well. The reality is that even the best internal controls and compliance procedures cannot fully protect you against the criminal element. A Financial Institution Bond can help you mitigate this risk.

4. Mortgage Impairment Insurance: Mortgage Impairment Insurance is an All Risk Comprehensive Property insurance policy protecting the private lender's mortgage interest against physical loss or property damage. Until now, this type of protection was only affordable for the largest banks and trust companies lending in Canada. The Mortgage Impairment insurance policy is available exclusively to AMBA members. Mortgage administrators, individual private lenders, Mortgage Investment Corporations and mortgage brokers arranging private mortgages can all purchase this policy.

Mortgage Impairment Protecting the Mortgagee's Interest The Mortgage Impairment policy should be considered mandatory coverage for private lenders/mortgagees. The policy protects insured mortgagees against losses on properties in their portfolio that were believed to have valid primary insurance at the time of the loss but after the loss were found to have:

a. NO valid insurance in force; or b. The amount or type of valid insurance in force was insufficient to cover the mortgagee's interest. The policy covers all commercial and residential properties funded by a particular mortgagee (i.e., private investor) within the mortgage portfolio managed or administered by the lender or administrator listed on the policy.

5. Mortgage Impairment Coverage Limits Mortgage Lenders and Administrators can select one of the following options for Mortgage Impairment Losses under the program: a. Total policy limits from $500,000 to $4,000,000 for residential and commercial losses; b. Typical limits selected are $500,000, $1,000,000, $2,000,000, $3,000,000 or $4,000,000.

To Learn More Contact LMS PROLINK Ltd. to find out how you can obtain access to affordable legal protection through the AMBA Legal Expense Insurance Program.

1-800-663-6828 www.LMS.CA/AMBA

14 WINTER 2013

A fine balance, PIPA and the right to Free Speech Winter 2013 was an interesting time for those following Alberta’s new privacy legislation, PIPA. In November, the supreme court of Canada handed down a long-awaited ruling on the controversial legislation, deeming it unconstitutional in its entirety. The case springs from a battle between a local union and employees who crossed their picket line. While filming a protest in 2006, the United Food and Commercial Workers, local 401, protestors collected video and images of people crossing the picket line. Those who chose to cross were warned that their images may appear on a website, and though that never occurred, the union did use photos of management and employees on posters, placards and in leaflets that were distributed during the course of the strike. The Privacy Commissioner of Alberta received several complaints from those persons depicted in the print material and it was ruled that the union had violated PIPA by using their images without consent. The Union argued that the ruling violated their constitutionally protected right to free speech, which leads us to the Supreme Court of Canada and their damaging ruling regarding privacy legislation in this province.

The Ruling The court ruling represents the fine balance that governments are currently trying to establish between protecting personal privacy, and the right to free expression. Pipa differs from other privacy legislation across the country by generally prohibiting organizations from collecting, using or disclosing the personal information of individuals without their consent. While the decision by the court did note the importance of protecting individuals rights to privacy, the ruling still stated that prohibiting the union from using the images it had collected infringed on their right to freedom of expression. In other words, the court found that limiting the unions’ ability to use the images which it found “indiscriminately limits the collection, use and disclosure of personal information without regard for the nature of that information, the context in which it is used, and the purposes for

which it is collected, used or disclosed— were disproportionate to its benefits.” ( In this instance, the picket line trumped the privacy law. The Supreme Court maintains that using freedom of expression in a labour dispute is an essential and well developed right of a union. The decision states that freedom of expression in the context of organized labour is fundamentally important in allowing workers to exercise their charter-protected right to influence their working and non-working lives. It also ruled that though the protections that Albertans receive from PIPA are important, they did not justify the restrictions to freedom of expression during a labour dispute.

Where does that leave privacy legislation in Alberta? Though the Supreme Court declared all of PIPA to be invalid, the court decided to suspend the declaration for 12 months, granting the Government of Alberta the time to revise the legislation. Interestingly, both the Attorney General of Alberta and the Privacy Commissioner of Alberta requested that the court declare the entire act invalid, perhaps alluding to a preexisting government interest in overhauling PIPA. It’s difficult to guess what a revised PIPA will look like, but companies should be aware: the court noted that PIPA is far broader than its federal counterpart PIPEDA – which only limits the amount of personal information that commercial businesses can collect and disseminated. However it ends up, one thing is certain, it is more important than ever to insure that your company is adhering to all privacy legislation on both the provincial and federal level.

What does the Supreme Court Ruling Mean? Individual privacy rights in Canada are currently viewed as “Quasi-Constitutional” – laws protecting those rights will continue to change and evolve The ruling sets a precedent for future challenges to privacy legislation across the country, including British Columbia’s Personal Protection Act – which was drafted alongside PIPA – and Manitoba’s The Personal Information Protection and Identity Theft Protection Act – which was modeled on PIPA A union's right of freedom of expression and ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, while not absolute, is protected by the courts.



Social Centre: How do you measure engagement? You’ve done it, you’ve taken the leap and started a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account for your business. You’ve established a great schedule for posting and you are constantly looking for new and exciting things to post to your followers. But some questions remain. Specifically: How many followers do you have? Who are they? Are they engaged with you? How are you defining success in terms of social media? The truth is, you’ll never get a handle on how successful your social media strategy is until you decide how you are going to measure engagement. Engagement isn’t just the latest buzzword being thrown around by marketing professionals - it’s a real issue that can have a real influence on your bottom line. Customers who participate in meaningful engagement with your company over a long period of time are more likely to bring repeat business, refer their friends and family to you and do business with brands they feel loyal to more often. Speakers and authors have gotten rich offering advice to companies on how to engage their customers, but a lot of the information available is mostly fluff. When it comes right down to it, engagement is a tough thing to measure, and its results can be hard to quantify.

Listen with your eyes The idea of social media “listening” might be strange, but it is actually critical to your success. The interesting and potentially terrifying thing about social media is that companies no longer have to engage in one-way communication with their customers and clients. The entire audience is welcome to respond to posts, give feedback and yes- air grievances against companies. Make sure you have built time in your schedule to examine what people are saying about your company or brand online. On Twitter, this is particularly easy. Just type the name of your company into the search bar at the top of your feed, and voila, you have everything that has been said about your company right at your finger tips. You can filter your search by “Top Tweets” (tweets by social media influencers, or tweets that have been favourited or retweeted”) or by “All Tweets” which gives you every result with no filter. When scrolling through be sure to take into account the sentiments being expressed, are being saying great things about you? Are they complaining? In either case, responding to users by either thanking them or acknowledging their issue is a great way to ensure future engagement. Essentially,

16 WINTER 2013

you are letting them know that there is a real live person on the other end of the line, which makes you seem way more approachable than a twitter bot sent forth to do push marketing online.

What’s your story? Are you taking the time to monitor your Facebook content daily? Studies have shown that more often than not, a person will “like” a Facebook page and then never visit it again. That’s most likely because the company is failing to post new and interesting information - moreover, they haven't taken the time to monitor their feed, spot the problem and course correct.

When you check your Facebook insights, you should be looking for four key things: The number of likes your content receives on any given day The number of comments your content receives on any given day The number of people “unsubscribing” from your feed on any given day The number of “unlikes” on any given day.

Let’s break down these ideas a little further. When you look at the number of likes, check the total amount, but also take a closer look at which posts got the most likes, and plan for more content like that in the future. As the old adage goes: give the people what they want. If a “like” is good, a comment is gold - most of the time anyway. Once again, take into account the number of comments you receive on any given day, but also look at the posts individually. Which posts are getting the most comments? Are the comments positive or negative? Do you need to take the time to respond to any of them - even if it is just a “like”?

The idea of unsubscribing is a little new to Facebook, but it is definitely picking up steam. Remember the relief you felt when you discovered that you could hide the posts from your oversharing aunt? People can now choose to hide content from fan pages as well. It doesn’t mean they have chosen to “unlike” you, they have just chosen to ignore the fact that you exist - which is just as bad. There are a couple of reasons people may unsubscribe to your posts; the most prominent being that you just post too often. Outside of emergency situations where it is critical to share as much information to as broad an audience as possible, it is best to stick to a maximum of one or two Facebook posts per day. No one wants to have their news feed flooded by posts about your company - don’t be the corporate version of the oversharing aunt. Another reason people may unsubscribe from your posts? What you are putting up online just isn't relevant. Try to stick to the topics outlined in your social media strategy, but allow exceptions for the occasional video of unstoppably adorable baby polar bears. Once again, when looking at your unsubscribe metrics, take a look at which posts seem to correspond with that number. Clearly they are turning off your fans, so try to steer clear of them in the future. Unlikes are a completely different ballgame than unsubscribes, and Facebook has made it easier than ever for your fans to abandon ship by simply hovering over your post. Users who unsubscribe are still able to engage with you on your wall

and to like and comment on posts - but those who unlike are shutting the digital door on your company for good. Their reasons may be the same, your posts are either too frequent or irrelevant, but it’s worth investigating what day your fan unlikes you and trying to suss out which post made them take the leap. If it was just one fan, you probably don’t have a problem, but if you discover a massive exodus from your page it is time to re-examine your strategy and change course drastically.

How do you rate? It can take a lot of time to build a social media following and your numbers may never reach astronomic levels. While you are waiting for your page to blow up, it is important to quantify the interactions you have with your current fans. Rick Mulready of the Social Media Examiner suggests setting up a rating system for your interactions.

Here’s an example of the rating system RICK MULREADY suggests

Likes = 1 point each Comments = 5 points each Shares = 10 points each This kind of strategy works best if you are running a specific social media campaign. Set a goal before you start, take the time to add up your score at the end of the day and slowly build up to your total. The points system takes an idea that can be a bit intangible and turns it into a quantifiable sum (which can be great if you are reporting to a boss or a board of directors that like hard numbers). It is important to decide on how you will quantify and qualify your social media engagement before you begin a program. In fact, you should be building your strategy with engagement in mind. Remember, this kind of advertising and customer engagement isn’t a science, nothing is guaranteed to earn you thousands of followers or retweets. It’s best to think of social media as a chance to show the human face of your company or organization, no one wants to be on the receiving end of a hard sell 24 hours a day. Whatever you do, make sure to keep the social in social media.



Being a part of Alberta’s professional association for mortgage brokers and lenders can do so much to help you in your business. But you don’t have to take it from us. We asked a few of our board members to tell us about their experiences with AMBA and how it has helped them further their careers. surveys when they come out, the higher the participation in our surveys the bigger impact it makes when we've advocating for our industry.

Why is AMBA Important to the industry?

Layne Walters TMG The Mortgage Group

ABMA is the only organization that has the sole purpose of advocating for Alberta mortgage brokers. With focussed interest and understanding of our real estate and lending market and provincial regulation AMBA is uniquely able to impact the direction of our industry within Alberta.

How did you get involved with AMBA (or why did you initially get involved with AMBA?) I was asked if I would join a committee to prepare a response to RECA’s proposals for changes to the Real Estate Act. Given the Act is only opened up once every four or five years for changes I felt it was a great time to get involved and that AMBA is in a position to make a real difference in the parts of the Act that affect us as mortgage brokers and how we do business.

How has being a member of AMBA been a benefit to you? AMBA events are in my opinion the absolute best way to meet lenders, from BDM's to underwriters that you would never otherwise meet. Making a personal connection to those you do business with or those you may do business with in the future makes it much easier to place the mortgage the right way with the right lender. I know that attending AMBA and meeting lenders has definitely helped me get more deals done.

Why would you recommend joining (or renewing a membership to) AMBA? It is very important to all of us that AMBA remain a strong voice in our industry with regards to the regulation and compliance that we deal with on a day to day basis. Not having a strong provincial voice when it comes to things like regulation and legislation could have a major negative impact on our business. If you are planning on continuing working in this industry then it is worth making sure our industry stays strong. The higher the membership we have the more impact we have in dealing with legislators and regulators while discussing what matters in our industry.

How can a person make the most of their AMBA Membership? Get involved in events, that is how you will meet the lenders and people that will help you do business. Understand and answer

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Gord Appel TMG The Mortgage Group

How did you get involved with AMBA? I originally got involved with AMBA because this industry is my platform for feeding my family, I have always felt that it’s better to be involved and help to effect change than sit on the sidelines.

How has being a member of AMBA been a benefit to you? Being a member of AMBA has benefitted me through the events and activities. It’s allowed me to meet other brokers from other companies and other parts of the province.   This of course has helped me to understand other marketplaces and new ways to approach them.

Why would you recommend joining (or renewing a membership to) AMBA? Joining or renewing your AMBA membership is simple; A strong AMBA = a strong industry.  If you want to be a mortgage broker in Alberta and you want to be successful it helps to have a vibrant industry to work in.  The more members the strong the association, join or renew today!

How can a person make the most of their AMBA Membership? Making the most of your membership is also simple, get involved! We have a volunteer board, numerous committees and events throughout the year.  Get connected, learn, practice, share and network.

Why is AMBA Important to the industry? AMBA is the voice of our industry with government and with the regulators. Those two groups have the largest impact on what we do each day as brokers and having a strong voice to represent Mortgage Brokers from around the province ensures that we can continue to provide great service to Albertans and provide for our families.

Ron McClenaghan Invis

Why would you recommend joining (or renewing a membership to) AMBA? We often become limited by associating with only those we know. AMBA provides the opportunity to extend your reach of knowledge through the experience of others in the industry.

How can a person make the most of their AMBA Membership? Volunteer for a committee that interests you. The investment of time does not have to be extensive, but it builds awareness and extends your experience in the industry.

Why is AMBA Important to the industry? How did you get involved with AMBA? AMBA has a long established history and is very involved with the required education to be licensed in Alberta. I quickly learned that key people within the mortgage business were members of AMBA.

How can a person make the most of their AMBA Membership?

The old adage “real estate is local,” applies to financing as well: AMBA keeps you in touch with what is happening in the province; and, having a local association to work with RECA to influence change (or make change contemplated easier to deal with) will help keep us employed in our role as brokers.    

Participation is the only way to maximize the benefits of being involved with an organization like AMBA

Why is AMBA Important to the industry? Every industry needs to be organized for the purpose of keeping the industry honest and professional. Collectively AMBA represents the mortgage practitioner within Alberta at all levels of government and regulation by being active representatives with RECA.

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done right

Phil McDowell Mortgages Are Marvellous

How did you get involved with AMBA (or why did you initially get involved with AMBA?) I joined AMBA because I wanted an easy way to gain more information about what was working in mortgage marketing and what lenders would do. 1-888-554-9075

How has being a member of AMBA been a benefit to you? AMBA Continues to be the primary source of information on the changing trends in the industry



AMBA Web How-To: Renew Your Membership

Add ‘Renew AMBA Membership’ to your list of new year’s resolutions. Your continued support of our organization is what allows us to continue planning great networking and educational events as well as providing your with news and updates about our industry. Renewing your membership with AMBA is quick and easy, and once it is completed you’ll have access to the whole range of benefits our members enjoy.

step one:

step TWO:

Navigate to, once there, you can access the member renewals either by clicking the link at the top of the page next to the log in function, or by logging in and clicking the “Renew Your Membership” button in the ‘Member Zone’ or by clicking on the link in the ‘Member Benefits’ page.

Select whether you are renewing on behalf of yourself or a company, and whether you would like to apply to be part of the Private Mortgage Lenders Forum.

step THREE:

step FOUR:

Fill in all of your information, double check to make sure it is correct.

Submit your payment. Once you have finished renewing your membership, you can download and print your membership certificate in the member zone.



How many hands does a Mortgage touch from the time it is referred to you to the time it closes and beyond? Caterina Olivito-Veltri Mortgage Professional


Have you ever really stopped and thought about this question? Well the answer depends on what type of mortgage financing is required. Is it five, 10, 15 or more? The answer? Let's explore… Whether you are a seasoned Mortgage Professional or new to the Industry, there is always room to learn, more as Warren Buffett would say; “Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes little sense for those who know what they're doing.” In other words; we all have room to grow and learn no matter what industry we work I,n as policy and procedures are in a constant state of movement. It is in your best interest to be prepared and know the stages of mortgage processing for you and of course your clients.

Referrer Hands


This could be anyone of your COI’s and is most likely a Realtor. Others include: Lawyers, Accountants, Appraisers, Home Inspectors, Colleagues, Friends, and Family. Anyone!

Referee Hands


People in need of financing for a purchase of any Real Property. Or for Refinance purposes and call it what you want: Equity take-out, Home Line of Credit, Reverse Chip Mortgage, second mortgage, third mortgage and so forth!

Your Hands

So you get that referral. Your job is to put together a welldocumented application for your Financial Mortgage Lender for approval. Your next question should be…is it a conventional mortgage or an unconventional mortgage?

Underwriter’s Hands at Financial Institution


This person is responsible for verifying the mortgage application information and supporting documentation is correct, assessing the risk of the applicant(s) and the property, and for approving or declining the mortgage according to the application.

Higher Level of Underwriting aka Risk Management (Underwriter’s Hands)


When a mortgage request amount exceeds a Lender’s maximum amount say for instance 750,000.00; the application then must go to another level of underwriting as the risk level for these high amounts require further approval.

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For High Ratio Mortgages; (loans exceeding the standard current criteria of 80 percent) that require default insurance. The application must then be sent to one of the listed insurers for approval. Genworth: Genworth Canada is the brand name of Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance Company Canada, a subsidiary of Genworth MI Canada Inc. (TSE:MIC). Also known as "The Homeownership Company," we provide mortgage default insurance to residential mortgage lenders that enables Canadians to own a home more affordably and stay in their homes during difficult financial times. - See more at: Qnr84rMd.dpuf CHMC: Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20 per cent of the purchase price. Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default, and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5 per cent — with interest rates comparable to those with a 20 per cent  down payment. AIG Insurance: Mortgage insurance enables lenders to help more borrowers purchase homes with low down payments— greatly expanding the opportunities to make the dream of home ownership a reality. mortgage_insurance.html



High Ratio Insurer Hands

Accredited Appraiser Hands

This professional sets a value upon real or personal property in a manner that is independent, impartial and objective. The appraisal is a formal, impartial estimate of opinion of value, usually written, of a specific and adequately described property, as of a specific date and supported by the presentation and analysis of relevant data. The Fundamentals of Mortgage Brokerage. Real Estate Counsel of Alberta.


Home Inspector Hands

This individual is optional for buyers. They are responsible for inspecting a property so it is in compliance with regulations. They convey the condition that the home is in and if anything is required to be fixed.


Land Surveyor Hands

A licensed professional involved in gathering, storing, processing and delivering of geographic information involved in the determination of property boundaries or assembly and analysis of land related information. The Fundamentals of Mortgage Brokerage. Real Estate Counsel of Alberta.

Home Insurance Hands (Fire Insurance) 10 In order for a mortgage to be funded, fire insurance must be purchased by the buyer before a Lending Institution will fund the mortgage. Once all of these steps have been taken care of the Mortgage then goes back to the Underwriter at the Lender of Choice!!!

Back to Underwriting 11

for a firm approval in which mortgage protection insurance is then offered by the Lender.


15 hands have been identified for one mortgage transaction here. Of course this number will change according to what type of financing is required. “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.” Socrates. Isn’t it uncanny how one of the richest men in American history, Warren Buffett and Socrates, the classical Greek Athenian Philosophers both believe that knowing nothing is the key to success and life; meaning that we are always learning in order to succeed. We always have room to grow in our jobs, whether we are new to the industry or have years of experience under our belts.

Mortgage Instructions are then sent to lawyer. Paralegal Hands will prepare documents for the Lawyer.

Lawyer Hands


Lawyer will then have clients in to sign.

Request for Title Insurance


A contract under which an insurance company agrees to compensate the owner of the property for any actual loss arising out a covered title risk as set out in the policy, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. interactive.pdf/74

Land Titles for Registration 15 Service Alberta is responsible for registering land ownership rights in Alberta. The Land Titles Act provides the legislative framework for the department to register land related documents that both create and terminate legal rights in property.

The perfect tool for any problem… all in one convenient package. Extraordinary clients need an extraordinary lender. No two files are the same so we take a multi-faceted approach to helping you solve your clients’ unique financing challenges. • Alternative Mortgage Solutions • 1st and 2nd Mortgages • British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba • Residential, Commercial, Construction, Rental Grant Plunkie Business Development / Senior Underwriter

Let’s talk solutions. Find out how Paradigm can help find alternative lending solutions for your clients Call 1-800-979-2911 or visit



Private Mortgage Lenders Forum

Open for Business For more than four years now a number of private mortgage lenders in the province of Alberta have been working together to build a better industry. Not only for the benefit of the industry but for mortgage brokers, borrowers, the investment community and provincial stake holders.

Why mortgage brokers should care? We all have a stake in the game of real estate and the more invested we are in each other’s businesses and success the better off we will all be in the future. From banks, credit unions, CMHC, real estate agents, appraisers and property managers, we are all impacted by how we run and operate our businesses.

What is the value? Private mortgage lenders offer mortgage brokers a unique tool set of products that are not offered by the major financial institutions. With no insurance restrictions private mortgage lenders can be flexible in their lending to meet specific circumstances of your clients. Even for those Mortgage Brokers that do not specialize in alternative products there are situations where a private mortgage product might be the right tool for you client’s real estate financing needs. These may include:

– Time sensitive transactions – Investment properties – Construction financing – Non-conforming property – Foreclosure situations – Poor credit – Bridge financing – Variability of income – Business for self

Who is the Private Mortgage Lenders Forum? Today, there are 20 members of the private mortgage lenders form representing more than a billion dollars of mortgage capital to the Alberta and BC mortgage market (List of members can be found on the AMBA website). All of the members are registered with their respective provincial regulator and are committed to the standards of good lending, investment offerings and regulatory compliance.

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What issues we are focused on today? Here is a summary of some of the issues our group is working on:

1. New and proposed security rules changes; 2. Dual regulation of syndicated mortgages in Alberta; 3. Standardized investor client forms; 4. Developing and industry code of conduct; 5. Standardized process of evaluating portfolio risk; 6. Discussion paper on Issues of determining value of Mortgage Investment Corporations shares;

How to learn more Take the time to learn more about the private mortgage lenders in your area and understand how they can help you be more informed and offer more solutions to meet your client’s needs. As chair of the Private Mortgage Lenders Forum Dean Koeller is available to answer any questions, 403-278-0249,

Flexible lending when you need it.

At Antrim, being flexible allows us to create the custom mortgage solutions your clients require. We provide a broad range of residential 1st and 2nd mortgages tailored to the needs of your self-employed, stated income, and low beacon clients. Approval turnaround is fast, keeping pace with Albertans’ efficient and common sense approach to business. Our friendly and knowledgeable underwriters look forward to helping you. Contact us today 1.888.550.6039 ¡

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What You Need to Know About Foreclosures THE INDUSTRY'S 'F' WORD Article Sponsored by Jody Robbins, Special to AMBA Matters

As much as foreclosures have become a topic of conversation in recent years, there’s still much misunderstanding around the mortgage industry’s ‘F’ word. Blame it on the media - many Canadians don’t realize our foreclosure process differs from the United States. Meaning: a $400,000 house that’s been foreclosed upon would never be sold for $100,000 in the great white north, thanks to a court supervised process that ensures properties are sold at market value. Foreclosures are a lender’s remedy, done in order to repay the loan so they can have a clean book of businesses. Sadly, many home owners tend to think lenders are after their home. Here’s what you need to know about foreclosures, and how you can help clients mitigate a situation before it spirals out of control.

The Process There is a very prescribed structure to foreclosures, yet many don’t see that the courts are there to protect them or that there’s a place in the process to fix the problem. “The court will give you time, but you need to take the opportunity to find and work out your own solution,” advises Dale Koeller, VP and Senior Mortgage Underwriter at Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation. Once one mortgage payment is missed, home owners are typically sent a demand letter from their lender - though there is no legal requirement to send such a letter in Alberta. “Most institutions issue a demand letter, but everyone should assume if they miss one payment they could be foreclosed upon. The lenders have that right the minute there is a default,” warns Denise M. Hendrix, Partner at Vickers Hendrix LLP.

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It’s common for owners to think a reversal of fortune will magically appear, but foreclosures are no fairy tale. Usually by the time a third payment is missed, a statement of claim (AKA a lawsuit) is filed and owners have 20 days to respond; either by denying the default in a statement of defence or acknowledging it through a demand of notice with the court. Mortgage brokers usually aren’t called into the picture until the statement of claim has been issued. “I come in and assess if we can do a refinance. I’ll contact the lawyer and often get the redemption period extended, as all lenders would prefer the client get caught up than go through a full foreclosure with the house sale,” says Rena St. Clair, Mortgage Associate, TMG The Mortgage Group Alberta Ltd.

Much Misunderstanding Most home owners don’t understand what’s happening to them during a foreclosure, and often go into a period of denial. Some think the minute the process begins the keys need to be handed over. Yet if the loan to value isn’t high and there’s equity in the property, more time is granted to solve the problem. ”There is a redemption process governed by the Court that depends on the equity in the house and the type of mortgage given. If a conventional mortgage,

Share this helpful article with your clients

a PDF OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE IN THE MEMBER ZONE UNDER MEMBER RESOURCES the redemption period can be anywhere from one day if there’s little or no equity to up to six months,” says Hendrix. Yet no matter how much time is given, it’s common for owners not to use that time wisely. “Many people put their head in the sand, don’t do anything and are unaware they have options,” says Jamie Clark, Partner at Beaumont Church LLP. Once the redemption period expires, the court takes over selling the property, often for less than if the owner worked to sell it on their own.

First Things First Mortgage brokers should recommend clients talk to their mortgage lender before missing a payment. While it may seem counter intuitive, banks are often willing to work with borrowers, especially if they have a good relationship. Clients should formulate a plan with their lender, making sure it’s one that can be kept. “Only make promises that can be honoured, showing good faith. If that doesn’t work, they should look at getting legal advice,” advises Hendrix. It’s also important to quickly determine how much equity is in the property, so mortgage brokers can organize a refinance in time. “If there’s equity, you need to formulate a really good exit strategy, such as going to a private mortgage lender and then re-qualifying for a new mortgage in 9 or 12 months,” advises St. Clair. While some clients may not be in a position to refinance, they can attempt to sell

Alberta’s Private Mortgage Lender

the property and make payments before that happens. Doing nothing is the worst thing someone can do according to Hendrix. “Ignoring the problem gives the impression it’s not important to you and you’re not interested in solving it,” she says.

Bringing a Private Mortgage Lender into the Picture Private mortgage lenders are in a good position to assist foreclosure situations (often better than most traditional lenders), as they’re able to see it firsthand from the clients point of view. Rarely would an underwriter at a bank manage a foreclosure file. “We’re not afraid to help if we can, and can assist borrowers with solutions to get them through the process,” says Koeller. Private mortgage lenders are looking for two things: the story and a solution. “We want to know what got them into that situation and if it’s recoverable,” says William Charlton, Senior Mortgage Underwriter, Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation. They’ll asses the balances



Call us today for more infomation


Dale Koeller, William Charlton & Dean Koeller




to judge if there’s enough equity in the home to structure a deal. If there is, they’ll want to know what the borrower’s plans are to not let the situation happen again. There are a few different ways private mortgage lenders can assist those in foreclosure.

ONE: If there’s equity in the property, the owners have current income and the issue is short term, private mortgage lenders can assist by paying the arrears and other debits that may have caused the situation. TWO: Private mortgage lenders can assist others in buying foreclosure properties that are on the market. Other lenders aren’t fond of financing these houses - usually because of their condition, yet real estate investors frequently buy property that’s undervalued or in poor condition. Mortgage brokers are uniquely positioned to help borrowers arrange private financing for the short term, and to coach them on a plan to improve and maintain credit, so they’re eligible for refinancing in six to twelve months.

Costly Errors There are many ways money is wasted during a foreclosure. Waiting to talk to the bank, or not engaging with a mortgage broker to get a private loan are the most obvious. Some clients attempt to defend the foreclosure lawsuit even when they have no defense. “Sometimes home owners file a statement of defense in court, which just runs up the cost,” says Lubos K. Pesta, Q.C. at Walsh LLP. Trying to duck the service of documents such as the statement of claim also racks up the bills, resulting in a court order issue. “The more time foreclosure lawyers spend on a file, the less equity the home owner ends up getting. If owners make it more difficult, they’re just shooting themselves in the foot,” warns Pesta. During the foreclosure process, a house appraisal is done on the property, and some owners attempt to stymie the appraisal by not allowing access. If the appraiser isn’t shown inside, they can only assume the property looks the same on the inside as the outside, which can lower the appraised value. If the house is listed for sale by the court, the list price is based upon the appraisal. For those with equity in their home, showing the property in its best light makes sense, as any money received from the proceeds is cash in their pocket. Even if there’s no equity, owners may be liable for the shortfall if the house sells for less than what is owed. Legal fees accumulate very quickly in a foreclose process. The difference between a demand letter and a statement of claim is approximately $1000. “The process moves very rapidly, so people need to do what they can to deal with the matter quickly. The longer the process goes on, the more expensive the legal fees,” warns Hendrix.

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Timing is Everything Ignoring the problem also wastes precious time negotiating and properly structuring a new loan. Underwriters and mortgage brokers need to have a good look at the situation in order to put a proper package together. Clients won’t have any luck bargaining on an interest rate when they’re days away from losing possession. “Rushed deals almost always cost the borrower more,” notes Koeller. While it’s apparent the quicker the problem is dealt with the better it is for the client when it comes to refinancing, very few bother organizing a plan and payment schedule to get caught up. “Ideally, the client would write a letter stating what they intend to do and put some meat behind it by enclosing a cheque,” says Koeller. What’s paramount is to ensure that promises made on a repayment schedule are kept. Clients are often shown leniency - if they can make serious payments on a tight schedule to get caught up. If promises are broken early on, the grace period quickly disappears. Likewise, putting no money up front and asking for a delay isn’t acceptable.

If it Seems too Good to Be True... Home owners need to be leery of anyone offering to step in and take over the property under the guise of protecting the owner’s credit. These scam artists will take title of the house, pay off the arrears bill, and let the former owners live there under the guise they can buy it back. “What usually happens is they’ll charge rent and still allow the property to go into foreclosure,” warns Pesta.

What to Know When Purchasing a Foreclosure Property You never know what you’re going to get when buying a home that’s been foreclosed upon, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be bought. Realize it’s going to be difficult to guarantee possession on the closing date. Occastionally, a bailiff needs to be hired by the foreclosing lawyer to remove people, possessions and even pets from the property, Also, the condition of the property is anybody’s guess. “Buyers just never know if a home owner will wreck the place before they leave,” warns Clark. Mortgage brokers often think little can be done for these clients or that it’s too much work, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Brokers can help owners review all the options, whether it’s refinancing or selling. “It’s extremely rewarding when someone knows they can stay in their home and that you’ve got Plan B sorted for them,” avows St. Clair.

Further Advice Home owners can contact Lawyer Referral, a service that assists folks find a lawyer who can provide the legal services they require. There’s no charge for the first half-hour interview, after which they can decide whether they want to engage the lawyer at full fee rates. Call 403-228-1722 in Calgary or 1-800-661-1095 in other areas of Alberta.

Hurry Hard!

Bonspiel Registration Now Open Once again it’s time to dust off your brooms, dig out your sliders and polish your rocks! The annual AMBA Curling Bonspiel is just around the corner. The 2014 Bonspiel will be a fun filled

day full of laughter and industry camaraderie. Show up ready for some friendly competition by entering your own team or let AMBA choose your team for you. Never Curled before? No worries, it’s a great chance to learn and lessons will be offered to new curlers! Come for the competition, stay for good times with great industry partners.







Fee’s include:   Breakfast, Lunch, Appetizers, Wine, Baileys and Coffee, Brooms and Sliders as well as Ice time.

February 28th, 2014 8:30AM through 4:00PM Calgary Curling Club 720 - 3 Street NW Calgary, AB T2N 1N9 Canada Visit to register today



New Year, New Business Opportunities, Thank you to everyone who attended the Alt-A Symposium thank you to all our sponsors! Gold Sponsors

2014 is the perfect time to expand your business or hone your skills in the ALT-A Market, and everyone who attended the 2014 ALT-A Symposium has a head start. A joint production of AMBA and the Private Mortgage Lenders Forum, the symposium was aimed at educating brokers on conducting business in the sometimes-mystifying Alt A Market. One of our most popular events in 2013, the symposium was back in 2014 with a new focus on marketing to both potential clients and lenders themselves.

Silver Sponsors

Brokers and Lenders alike had the chance to learn the tricks of the trade from industry experts and gain valuable in sites that will benefit their businesses. Attendees learned strategies for marketing themselves and their services to both potential clients and potential lenders. They also saw first-hand the small differences that can turn a “no” into a yes. Many were surprised to discover what the next year has in store for our economy and our industry. Whatever side of the ALT-A Market you are interested in, the symposium had something to offer. In between thought provoking and informative presentations, attendees took the time to visit our trade show. This was an excellent opportunity to meet with and learn more about private lenders who are leaders in our industry.

We want to to take the time to thank everyone who made it out to Red Deer to take part in the symposium, but we’d especially like to extend our gratitude to our generous sponsors, who make events like this possible. Another thank you must go out to the Private Mortgage Lenders forum who spearheaded the ALT A from its initial planning phases through to it’s completion and the Events and Communications Committees who worked diligently to make the Alt-A Symposium such a success.

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Highlights of the day Marketing Yourself with Cal Harrison How do you market yourself and the services that you can provide to potential clients? How is marketing services different from marketing products. Cal Harrison, marketing guru and author of the best-selling The Consultant with Pink Hair walked the crowd through potential marketing strategies, illuminating different tactics you can use to procure more business. Harrison is one of North America's leaders in assisting the consulting professions such as architects, engineers, management consultants and lawyers to develop better sales skills and more profitable practices.

Lenders' Den One of the most raucous events of the day, the Lenders' Den brought together leaders in our industry for an in-depth and informative presentation on new approaches to the underwriting discussion. One that AMBA members won’t be quick to forget. Our lenders pitched to brokers, demonstrating the best, most effective ways to get the deal done. Those who saw this presentation now have a much better understanding of how to package a deal, and how best to approach a lender on behalf of a client - even the most atypical ones.

Economic Update from Danielle Bochove What does 2014 have in store for the Alberta economy? How will federal decisions impact our province and our industry? Journalist Danielle Bochove is an expert on Canadian finance, expertly laid out what the next year will look like for everyone involved with the mortgage industry. Danielle is a brilliant economist and has elevated her profile by hosting CBC’s Lang and O’Leary Report. Her economic outlook held the audience in rapt attention and was full of information that is essential to understanding the markets in the coming year.



As a broker, you’re under a lot of pressure. You have to respond to the needs of your clients at a moment’s notice. At Optimum Mortgage, we are dedicated to keeping our brokers informed of the status of their deal every step along the way. We guarantee you a response time within 24 hours of submitting your deal. And for those times where you just can’t wait, pick up the phone and give us a call. We have a no voicemail policy at our underwriting centre and would be happy to help.

PH 1.866.441.3775




STOP TRYING TO BRAND YOUR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRM, BRANDING IS FOR PRODUCTS – POSITIONING IS FOR EXPERTS Cal Harrison The challenge of developing a brand for a professional services firm in management consulting, architecture, IT consulting, engineering, law, etc. begins with the concept of brand. I say “concept” as opposed to “definition” because while there are innumerable definitions proposed by branding gurus most fall to a common concept – some collection of experiences represented by imagery and words that creates a strong emotional bond between the consumer and the product. The concept of brand works great for consumer products or commodities because the role of emotion in consumer product purchases is significant. Some minimal level of utility is usually required that can be met by many products so the way for a consumer to sort out which to purchase is to defer to an emotional decision. For example, even though the utility and price of many brands of SUV are very similar – making them essentially a commodity – some people choose to drive a Chevy because they feel that it appropriately represents the image they have of themselves to the rest of the world. Others feel that a Volvo or Mercedes might better reflect who they are and would choose those instead. So with this in mind let us move forward with this idea that a brand is an emotional connection to a product. But what if you are a consultant, architect, engineer, lawyer, etc? Are you a product that is bought and sold the way beer or cars are purchased? Is your firm selected because of an emotional connection you have with the buyer? Absolutely not – consultants are hired for their expertise and utility to a client firm. Emotion cannot be ignored entirely but it does not drive the selection. So if branding a professional services firm is the process of creating an emotion-based reputation for a professional services firm, then it would seem fair to say that branding is a waste of time for professional services firms because their clients make utility-based purchase decisions not emotion-based purchase decisions. So with that in mind I suggest you stop trying to brand your professional services firm and instead adopt the idea of positioning a professional services firm – defining, communicating, and proving a reputation in the market place based upon expertise.

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UTILITY DEFINES THE EMOTION So now that we have accepted the idea that emotions are not a factor in the hiring of a professional services firm we should acknowledge that that is not entirely correct. In professional services the emotional perspective a client has of a consultant is simply a reflection of the quality of the consultant’s expertise and therefore emotions can manifest in positive or negative ways depending upon the evidence the consultant provides that they actually have any expertise. It can be positive as in “That woman really knows what she’s talking about and we could use some of her advice around here” or it can be negative as in “He sounds slick but there’s really nothing there of any value to us”. In consumer product branding the emotion is a contrived emotion based upon affiliating the product with images of scantily clad models (beer) or glory shots of off-roading steel and chrome perfection (automobiles) and is rarely challenged for proof of those emotional promises. While you might terminate a project with a management consultant if their delivery fell short of what their reputation promised, you would be unlikely to demand a refund for your beer because no supermodel dragged you off to their bedroom after a glass or two of ale.

STOP TRYING TO BRAND YOUR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRM LIKE A CONSUMER PRODUCT The traditional concepts behind branding in order to sell commodity consumer products do not translate well to selling professional services because consumer products and professional services are bought very differently. While branding is like trying to get a first date (low risk, short-term sale) positioning is like to trying to get married (high risk, long-term sale). The role of branding, in a professional services firm is not to create an emotional connection to sway an inconsequential impulse purchase as you go through the checkout at the grocery – it is about communicating the reputation of your firm to your potential clients to demonstrate relevance and value and begin the very long and potentially high-risk engagement process. Always be careful to avoid applying the principles of emotionbased consumer product branding to the functional utility-based professional services environment.

Sponsorship Opportunities Still Available What’s the best way to advertise your business to other industry members? Why not consider sponsoring an AMBA Event? We have a full range of sponsorship packages available to meet your advertising needs. From trade shows to website advertisements, there is no better way to reach your audience. For more information on available sponsorship opportunities, contact Renee Price at or at 403-685-9652. Packages are selling fast, don’t miss your opportunity.

Equity Lending! Over 600 Million lent Since 1997 BR I T I SH COLUMBI A • ALBERTA • ONTA R IO • ATLANTIC PROVINCES


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1st Mortgages Rates start at

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Member CAAMP, AMBA, MBABC, BBB, Offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton & Toronto.

Paula Hutton

Hugh Doggett

Trevor Bowie

Business Development Manager British Columbia

Business Development Manager Alberta North & South

Business Development Manager Ontario

Business Development Manager Atlantic Provinces

Phone: 604 | 329.6067

Phone: 403 | 278.6200 Fax: 403 | 278.6296 Toll Free: 800 | 959.9290

Phone: 905 | 299.6951 Fax: 905 | 824.7095 Toll Free: 80 0 | 814.2578

Phone: 902 | 894.7700 Fax: 902 | 894.7736 Toll Free: 866 | 830.7734

Greg Kakuno

Toll Free: 800 | 625.7747

CapitalDirect EDIT Novemeber2013

WINTER 33 4/16/122013 4:17:22 PM

Shattering the Glass Ceiling Hali Strandlund named one of the most powerful women in Canada

Strandlund is in great company on WXN’s list of 100 powerful women. She is joined by Lynne Jeannoit, Executive Vice-President, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs for National Bank of Canada, Christine Magee, President of Sleep Country Canada, Leslie O’Donoghue, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development and Strategy, Chief Risk Officer for Agrium inc, among other women who are making a name for themselves in various industries across the country.

Congratulations are due to one of our industry’s best and brightest, Hali Strandlund, SVP Residential Mortgage Investments & Broker Relations, Fisgard Asset Management Corporation, was named one of the most influential women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN).

Even though the number of women appointed to executive positions in Canadian companies continues to grow - albeit slowly - year over year, a recent C-Suite survey of Canadian Executives found that women remain vastly underrepresented among senior corporate ranks. Disturbingly, the study also found that most executives don’t seem to care.

The Canada’s Most Powerful Women awards highlight the professional achievements of women across the country in the private and not-for profit sectors. At a time when Canadian businesses are under close scrutiny for their all male boards or boys only executive offices, these awards are a great way to recognize women who are blazing the trail for their contemporaries and setting a path for younger generations to follow.

Only seven per cent of the executives surveyed have more than two women on their board, yet more than 60 per cent say that they are happy with the number of women represented at the highest levels of their companies.

Strandlund has long been a valued member of AMBA. A licenced realtor and mortgage broker since 1989, she has risen in the ranks to become a respected member of the industry as well as a recognized expert in her field. She is frequently asked to speak on the topic of alternative lending and her insights are always valued when she chooses to share them.

Women like Strandlund and her fellow award winners are working hard for a spot at the table - not just for themselves, but for other women hoping to break into the highest echelons of Canadian business. Since it’s creation in 1997, Womens Executive Network has strived to create and deliver innovative networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities for women in leadership roles. With more than 19,000 members across Canada and Ireland, WXN has grown into a strong community of women supporting each other professionally. WXN has honoured 728 of Canada’s most powerful women and has inducted 93 of them into it’s Top 100 Hall of Fame. AMBA is certain that Hali Strandlund will find her way to the hall of fame thanks to her commitment to excellence and professionalism.

A past president of the Mortgage Brokers Association of British Columbia (MBABC), Strandlund is also a past chair of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals and director of both the Mortgage Investment Association of British Columbia and the Victoria chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association. She also has the distinct honour of being the youngest ever recipient of the MBABC Pioneer Award for lifetime achievement in the mortgage industry.

EXPERTS talk to the experts in private lending

Fisgard is one of Western Canada’s largest private Mortgage Investment Corporations and a leader in private and alternative lending solutions. Expect nothing less than dedicated customer service, experienced and creative residential and commercial underwriters, competitive products and flexible lending guidelines from Fisgard. For all deal inquiries contact: Hali Strandlund t: 866.382.9255

Fisgard Capital Corporation

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m: 250.480.8883

3378 Douglas Street, Victoria BC V8Z 3L3




Shake, r attle and bowl! AMBA wants to say a big thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the season with us at our Shake Rattle and Bowl event! While not all of us can claim to rule the lanes, everyone looked like they were having a great time, whether they were bowling strikes or gutter balls. Those of you who got dolled up in your retro wear have never looked better, those sunglasses and headbands may just make a fashion comeback in the new year.

It was a pleasure to ring in the holidays with you and we hope to keep the good times rolling in 2014!



Industry News Longstanding CAAMP VP to step down Big changes may be in the card at CAAMP with the announcement that Michael Ellenzweig, VP of Member Services and former Executive Director of CIMBL set to step down from his post in June. Ellenzweig is a past inductee into the CAAMP Mortgage Hall of Fame and has been VP, member services for over 15 years. Current CAAMP Chair called the move “the end of an era for the Canadian mortgage industry.” He went on to add that Ellenzweig was “a mentor, a colleague a leader and a friend,” who touched many throughout his career.

Economy boosts resale price Sales of single-family resale homes increased 16 per cent in 2013 compared to the previous year, says the Calgary Real Estate Board.

The Calgary Real Estate board says that sales of single-family homes increased by 16 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012. Last year saw a total of $8.442 billion in home sales, up from $7.269 in 2012. Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist for CREB attributes the growth to two consecutive years of elevated levels of net migration combined with a strong job market and confidence in long-term economic prospects. December saw a 10 per cent increase in sales for singlefamily homes over 2012 - $407 million in 2013 compared to 369 million in the previous year. The real estate market has also seen a shift in the amount of time homes stay on the market. Houses in 2013 sold almost a full week more quickly in 2013 - averaging only 36 days on the market, down significantly from 42 days in 2012. The average price of single-family resale homes in Calgary rose to $527,764 in December, up 6.2 per cent from $496,809 compared to the same month in 2012.


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Apartment Boom Expected in Edmonton

First-Time Buyers Show Preferance for Multi-family

Apartment buildings are springing up across Edmonton at an unprecedented rate. Currently, there are 46 apartment projects under construction in the city which will add a combined 5,000 units to the city.

The high cost of single single-family homes is causing firsttime homebuyers to consider the benefits of living in multifamily buildings.

Landlords are siting Edmonton’s low vacancy rate and rapidly growing population for the current demand. Currently, the Province’s capital has an apartment vacancy rate of 1.2 per cent, even lower than the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporations fall rental vacancy rate of 1.4 per cent. Sales of existing apartment buildings totalled more than $301.5 million in 2013, a staggering 35 per cent rise over 2012. More than 50 buildings were bought, containing 2.200 suites. Many of the current apartment projects are slated to be completed in 2014 which should help to ease pressure on both vacancy and rental rates.

The Calgary Real Estate Board reports that 2013 was a sellers market - if what you happened to be selling was a townhouse. Townhomes accounted for 32 per cent of total home sales in 2013, with their selling prices rising to between $300,000 and $399,999. Townhome sales accounted for only 26 per cent of sales in 2012. December saw an unusual uptick in condo sales in 2013, with most units staying on the market only 50 says - 25 per cent faster than the same month in 2012. The great news for sellers was the trend of apartments earning nearly one percentage point more than their asking price on average, with most earning around 97.27 per cent of their list price.

2013 Busiest year for Homebuilders since 2007 › Overall Service Levels › Broker Support › Underwriter Support › Satisfaction with Credit Policy

› BDM Support › Turnaround Time

› Commission Structure › Interest Rates

Last year, homebuilders in Calgary, Edmonton and their surrounding communities recorded their busiest year since 2007. The Edmonton region saw an increase in housing starts mostly due to a busy multi-family sector. The Edmonton census recorded 14,689 total housing starts in the metropolitan area, up from 12, 837 in 2012. Despite a slight decline in housing starts during December, the Canadian Municipal Housing Corporation says that actual housing starts were up year-over-year due to higher multi-family starts. The CMHC went on to say that 2013 was Alberta’s busiest year for housing starts since 2007, when builders broke ground on 38,477 units in cities across the province and it is expected that the trend will continue in 2014.

We are proud of our achievements we have created together, we will continue to work hard to provide or iginators with tools they need to succeed.



amba calendar


October 2014 february 2014

July 2014


AMBA ANNUAL Conference

February 28th, 2014 Red Deer, AB

July 3rd–4th, 2014 Kananskis, AB

april 2014

september 2014

Broker of record

AMBA Golf Tournament

April, 2014 Edmonton, AB

September 28th, 2014 Innisfail, AB

Broker of record April, 2014 Calgary, AB

fussy. In the world of banking, common sense has become surprisingly uncommon. Rules are piled on top of rules, making life harder than it needs to be for everybody. Well, that’s not how we operate. We strive to do right by our broker partners in a way that simply makes sense, like our new Advantage and Edge programs. We’re Bridgewater Bank, and that’s just how we do things.

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Member Regional Meeting October, 2014 Location, tba

Fraud & Crime Prevention Symposium October 9th, 2014 Red Deer, AB

november 2014 Government reception/year end November 19th, 2014 Edmonton, AB




common sense

lending and

Melissa Tobia, Underwriter Collin Bruce, Mortgage Broker/ Franchise Owner, DLC Shawn Jewers, Account Manager



make it easy for me to send clients to them!”

“That’s why I’ve been working with First National for over 8 years and am proud to have them as one of my top lenders!” At First National, we’ve spent the last 25 years focused on earning brokers’ confidence, and we will continue that commitment towards the next 25. Behind the scenes

Thank you mortgage brokers for 25 years of shared success.


SOLUTIONS. ADVICE. MOVE. Visit or contact one of our Business Development Managers to learn how RMG Mortgages can help you create homeownership opportunities.

RMG Mortgages is a division of MCAP Financial Corporation | Ontario Mortgage Brokerage no 10600 | Ontario Mortgage Administrator no 11790

RMG mortgages

AMBA Matters Winter 2013  

Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA) members magazine.

AMBA Matters Winter 2013  

Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association (AMBA) members magazine.