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What ever happened to service?



What ever happened to service?


Back in the day, banking seemed to be more personal then it is today. Many of us might remember going into a bank with our parents and walking up to the Teller who actually greeted you with a smile and knew your name and your family. Now, when you walk into the bank, that once familiar smile from the teller behind the wicket has seemed to vanish. My first job was for one of the top 5 banks in Canada. During my time at the branch level I witnessed an alarming service transformation, what was once a service driven focus, shifted quickly into a sales driven objective. For me, placing sales targets on tellers only complicated things. I felt that the personal service that I once used to provide was disappearing and was replaced with a quick and much less personal experience.

Before the modern conveniences of ATM’s, telephone and online banking, you would have walked into your local bank to pay bills, take out money and yes of course apply for a mortgage. Nowadays, the same banking institutions that our parents once depended on are making it increasingly difficult to get that personal service. In addition, with sales targets and changes to borrowing guidelines, people are finding themselves in more difficult situations than ever before. In times long ago, a person had a sense of loyalty with their bank. They trusted the advice the bank gave them. Now with such a competitive banking service sector, people are finding that they utilize different banking channels for lending and banking. Could this be due to the fact that banks compete for your business, not because who you are but what you have?

Case and point, I had a client that was a loyal customer with one of the Top 5 banks. He was in the midst of purchasing his condo and went to his bank for a pre-approval. After spending hours waiting to speak with a mortgage officer, he finally got the call weeks later telling him he qualified for the mortgage amount he required. As a loyal customer he felt that this was the best rate on the market. It was only during his conversation with his real-estate agent that the agent mentioned that he had a broker that could beat the major banks rate. His real-estate agent suggested that he should chose to deal with a professional mortgage broker, since they have access to many lenders and a wide array of mortgage products. After sitting down with the client, we discussed his finances and his future financial vision. After spending that time with the client, he had recognized the value and service a mortgage broker can provide. The most common misconception we as mortgage professionals hear from our clients is, “I thought that my bank would give me the best rate since, I have banked with them for so many years”. The truth is, they don’t really give you the best rate because of your years of loyalty. My client discovered that the Mortgage he received with a mortgage professional saved him thousands of dollars over the term of the mortgage. Not to mention, we provided him that personal touch and convenience that the banks seem to lack nowadays.

It is important to know that a mortgage professional is not only a facilitator of the mortgage between the mortgagor and the mortgagee, the mortgage specialist takes the time to know you and explain everything you need to know. They are there for you when you need them and are always willing to help. Mortgage professionals take the time to understand your needs, wants and dreams. We sit with you and give you practical and smart strategies that work. A mortgage professional provides peace of mind. We do not work for the bank, we work for our clients. The bank treats you as a number with a dollar value attached. Banks want volume, they see you as a target and often not on what you can safely afford or support. When you sit down with a mortgage specialist we look at your finances and plan accordingly. Often buying that bigger home just because your bank said you can, does not mean you should. We like to say “you can afford this monthly payment as long you like eating Kraft macaroni and cheese every night”. Often I meet with clients who over stretch themselves only to find that they are worse off than when they started. We take the time to get know our clients as a mortgage professional, this is paramount for providing that personal touch. Mortgage professionals have that personal one-on-one touch that seems to be non-existent in the banking world today.

Anthony Venuto


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