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An Examination of the Canadian Mortgage Broker Industry By Andrew T. Williams

An Examination of the Canadian Mortgage Broker Industry
                                   By Andrew T. Williams.

An Examination of the Canadian Mortgage Broker Industry
                                   By Andrew T. Williams




Thesis Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of
                             Arts with Honours in Economics




                                     Acadia University
                                        April, 2010
                             © By Andrew T. Williams, 2010

This thesis by Andrew T Williams is accepted in its present form by the Department of
Economics as satisfying the thesis requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with
                                       Honours



                          Approved by the Thesis Supervisor

                Brian Vanblarcom      __________________________

                          Approved by the Thesis Supervisor

                    Scot Skjei     __________________________

                      Approved by the Head of the Department

                Hassouna Moussa       __________________________

                        Approved by the Honours Committee

                 Matthew Durant      __________________________




                                          ii

I, Andrew Williams, grant permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to
   reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic
      formats on a non-profit basis. I however, retain the copyright in my thesis.




                      ___________________________________

                                  Signature of Author

                      ___________________________________

                                          Date




                                           iii

Acknowledgements

        I'dliketothankProfessorSkjeiandProfessorVanblarcom for their patience and
guidance through the entire process. I would like to thank my parents for their love and
supportthroughoutFinallyI'dliketothankthemanypeopleIinterviewedandemailed
for their help and interest.




                                              iv

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements...........................................................................................................iv

Table of Contents...............................................................................................................v

List of Tables.....................................................................................................................vii

List of Figures...................................................................................................................viii

Abstract..............................................................................................................................ix

1   Introduction................................................................................................................1

2   The Mortgage Brokerage Industry in Canada............................................................4
2.1 What is a Mortgage Broker? .......................................................................................4
2.2 A Young Canadian Industry..........................................................................................6
2.3 Recent Trends in the Canadian Mortgage Market......................................................7
2.4 Housing Bubble Fears.................................................................................................11

3   Critical Issues in the Mortgage Broker Industry.......................................................14
3.1 Problems with Experience and Consumer Confidence...............................................14
3.2 Mortgage Fraud..........................................................................................................15
3.3 Efforts to reform.........................................................................................................18
3.4 The Major Banks in Canada: An Overview.................................................................20
3.5 Advertising..................................................................................................................23
3.6 Bank Brokerages.........................................................................................................25
3.7 Status Quo Bias ..........................................................................................................26

4   Market
    Characteristics...........................................................................................................29
4.1 Introduction................................................................................................................29
4.2 Monopolistic Competition..........................................................................................29
4.3 Asymmetric information.............................................................................................32
4.4 Price Discrimination....................................................................................................32
4.5 The Three Types of Price Discrimination....................................................................36
4.5.1   1st Degree ............................................................................................................36
4.5.2   2nd Degree...........................................................................................................37
4.5.3   3rd Degree............................................................................................................38

5   Price Discrimination in the Mortgage Market..........................................................42
5.1 Introduction................................................................................................................42
5.2 Assumptions...............................................................................................................43
5.3 An Estimate of Consumer Surplus in Canada.............................................................43
5.4 Graphical Representation...........................................................................................45

                                                                v

6   Conclusion ................................................................................................................48
6.1 Summary....................................................................................................................48
6.2 Conclusion..................................................................................................................50

7   Bibliography..............................................................................................................52

8   Appendix A.................................................................................................................57




                                                            vi

List of Tables

   Table 2.1 Residential Mortgage Credit by Institution ...........................................9
   Table 3.1 Sentiment by Bank...............................................................................21
   Table 5.1 Calculated Findings..............................................................................46




                                           vii

List of Figures

   Figure 2.1 Average Mortgage Rates.....................................................................8
   Figure 2.2 Existing Home Prices..........................................................................10
   Figure 3.1 Trends in Public Support For the Banks............................................22
   Figure 3.2 Advertising Recall...............................................................................25
   Figure 4.1 Residential Mortgage Credit % By Institution..................................31
   Figure 4.2 Price Discrimination...........................................................................35
   Figure 4.3 Second Degree Price Discrimination.................................................37
   Figure 4.4 Third Degree Price Discrimination.....................................................38
   Figure 5.1 Increase in Consumer Surplus............................................................45




                                            viii

Abstract

       This thesis seeks to answerthequestion"whyare mortgage brokers relatively

under used inCanadaandwhatcouldbegainedfromincreasingtheirusage?"Through

examination of the current market, mortgage brokers were found to be impeded by a

combination of the following factors: broker inexperience, a history of fraud, the major

bank's dominance of advertising and consumer opinion, and the established status quo

bias amongst Canadians. A third degree price discrimination model was subsequently

used to estimate the consumer cost of these impediments. The consumer surplus cost

was calculated to be $41.2 million in 2009. Individually, consumers can benefit from the

use of mortgage brokers but the mortgage industry as a whole benefits from the

decrease in dead weight loss, calculated to be $15.89 million. It is the existence of these

savings that will likely encourage growth in this industry in the future.




                                             ix


Chapter 1 ­ Introduction

       On July 13th 2009, a Globe and Mail reporter named Rob Carrick interviewed

Robert McLister, the author of the Canadian Mortgage Trends blog and registered

Mortgage Planner. In the course of the interview, Carrick mentioned that only 10% of

people renewing their mortgage shop around for a better interest rate. McLister
                                                                          1



comments that if a borrower was to consult a mortgage broker instead of going to a

bank directly, they would likely be able to lower their interest rate more than 30 basis

points from the given bank rate. Interestingly, McLister mentions that only about a
                                 2



third of Canadians use mortgage brokers which means a large number of the Canadian

homebuyers are missing out on significant savings.

       The research question that this thesis will focus on is as follows: why are

mortgage brokers under used in Canada and what could be gained from increasing their

usage?

         In 2009, total mortgage credit in the Canadian market was a record $930

billion and surveys suggest that only 30-40% of this was obtained through mortgage
      3



brokers. 4,5The mortgage market in Canada predominantly features the monopolistically

competitive"Big Five" banks. These banks originate more than half of all mortgage
                             6




1Rob Mclister, interview by Rob Carrick. Getting the Best Mortgage Rate (July 13, 2009).
2Mclister
3Bank of Canada. Residential Mortgage Credit. CANSIM, 03 08, 2010
4CMHC. "2009 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2009: 3
5Will Dunning, "The Canadian Residential Mortgage Market During Challenging Times."
CAAMP, April 2009: 7 - 10.
6Note 1 - See Appendix A for a List of the Big 5 banks

                                             1

credit in Canada and are the first choice of a majority of Canadian customers. In
                                                                                7



addition to these banks, there are over a hundred smaller credit institutions and Caisses

Populaires present in the Canadian banking industry. These institutions are the second

largest provider of independent residential mortgage credit in Canada with about 13%

of the total market in 2009. In comparison, the mortgage broker industry, as recently
                              8



as 15 years ago was largely marginalized to the role of lender of last resort in Canada.

Art Trojan, the head of Norlite Financial Services, one of Canada's largest brokerages,

said that in the past:

        "The stereotypical image of the mortgage broker was that of a guy who's sitting

        in a back room, saying, 'Hey buddy, do you need some money? We're going to

        charge half a point extra and, if you miss a payment, we're going to break your

        legs.'"9



Whilethismakesforalivelycaricaturetheindustry'stransition into a more reputable

profession is both complex and incomplete.

         This thesis will explore the limitations currently facing the Canadian mortgage

industry, despite efforts to reform. The main reasons for such limitations include: broker

inexperience and fraud, Big 5 marketing dominance, and consumer status quo bias.




7Will Dunning. "Risks are Contained Within the Canadian Mortgage Market." CAAMP,
October 2008: 3
8Bank of Canada. "Residential Mortgage Credit." CANSIM, 03 08, 2010
9Paul Kaihla. "Canada Mortgage Broker: If you're looking for a cut-rate mortgage, don't
go to the bank -- call a broker." 2004.
http://canadamortgagebroker.ca/brokers/canadian_business.htm (accessed 02 2010).

                                               2

        The structure of this thesis is as follows: in Chapter 2, an industry background

will be presented and the role of mortgage brokers will be explained. In addition, an

account of the current trends in the Canadian housing market will place the following

discussion in greater context. In Chapter 3, the critical issues relevant to the broker

industry will be detailed. The goal is to provide an understanding of the limits and

problems that impede the broker industry from achieving greater market power.

        Chapter 4 will define the fundamental characteristics that distinguish the

mortgage industry. Third degree price discrimination will be introduced as the primary

economic rationale for the existence of limited market competition. Chapter 5 will take

the theoretical framework put forward in Chapter 4 and apply it to the Canadian

Mortgage Market. A numerical example will be constructed to examine thequestion"If

the limitations inherent in the mortgage broker industry were removed, what would be

theincreaseinconsumersurplus"

        In summary, this thesis will initially present a review of the deficiencies present

in the mortgage broker industry. Following that, the market structure will be considered

as a whole and an estimation of consumer surplus currently forgone will be provided.

Taken together, this analysis will explain why brokers are under used in Canada and the

consumer costs associated with this underuse.




                                               3

Chapter 2 ­ The Mortgage Brokerage
Industry in Canada

2.1 - What is a Mortgage Broker?

        A mortgage broker is an agent that represents the interests of the consumer

when securing a loan from a bank or credit institution. Their role is to find the lender

withthemortgagetermsandinterestsratesthatbestsuittheborrower'sneeds

Typically, they work independently and do not originate any loans themselves. Instead,

they constantly compare rates between the lending institutions into order to establish

which ones on a given day are offering the best deal. They also have access to private

lenders and broker only institutions that customers would not be able to contact

themselves. In addition to comparing rates, brokers study the lending profiles of various

institutions. They learn the types of projects that each institution favours, whether it is

mortgages for hotels or low income city townhouses. Matching a bank'slendingstrategy

to the risk and credit profile of the borrower allows the broker to find the lowest rates

available.

        Mortgage brokers also maintain strong ties with the lending institutions

themselves which allows for greater negotiating power. Rate discounts can be

negotiated on the basis of number of borrowers the broker brings to the bank, the

quality of borrowers, and amount being borrowed. Naturally, the more customers that

the broker matches to a certain bank, the increased likelihood that they will offer a

quantity discount to the broker. BrokeragessuchQuebec'sMulti Prêts Hypotheques



                                             4

bring in over $100 million worth of credit to the banks yearly and this allows for a very

strong bargaining position. Some smaller credit institutions, such as First National
                             10



Financial, rely entirely on brokers to find potential borrowers. By working solely with

brokers, they are able to completely eliminate the need for a physical location from

which to interact with and meet customers.

         notherfundamentalpartoftheseinteractionsisthebroker'snegotiating

experiencestheyrepresenttheborrower'sinterestsandreceivecompensationona

transaction basis only, they are motivated to negotiate the best deal possible.

Compensationcomesmostlyinoneoftwoformsafinder'sfeefromthelending

institution for bringing in a borrower, or a commission based on a percent of the total

mortgage acquired. The finder'sfeeisthemostcommonformofcompensationmaking

broker usage a cost free process for most consumers. In the event of a commission

based broker, the Canadian Mortgage blog puts the average commission at 65 basis

points. Brokers are entitled to charge a commission themselves but few for
       11



competitive reasons.




10Paul Kaihla. "Canada Mortgage Broker: If you're looking for a cut-rate mortgage, don't
go to the bank -- call a broker." 2004.
http://canadamortgagebroker.ca/brokers/canadian_business.htm (accessed 02 2010).
11Ibid

                                              5

2.2 - A Young Canadian Industry


        Mortgage brokerages have been present in Canada for at least the last 50 years

but it was only towards the end of the century that the industry began to become

institutionalized. One of the earliest associations was the Ontario Mortgage Brokers
                  12



Association (OMBA) which was founded in the 1960s and ceased operations in 1996.       13



In1975thelbertaMortgageBrokerssociation(MB)wascreatedtomaintain"a

highlevelofintegrityandprofessionalism"withinthelbertabrokercommunity. In14



alignmentwithMB'sgoalstheMortgageBrokersssociationofBritish Columbia

(MBABC) and the Mortgage Brokers Association of Ontario (IMBA) were created in 1990

and 2000 respectively. Nationally, the industry was formally unified in 1994 with the

creation of the Canadian Institute of Mortgage Brokers & Lenders (CIMBL) which served

as"theindustryvoicewithgovernmentmediaandregulators"    15




        The rise of broker associations had a noticeable effect on how the Canadian

banks use interest rates to entice customers. Economist Virginie Traclet, in her 2005 paper

"The Structure of the Canadian Housing Market and Finance system," found that the increase


in the mortgage broker and virtual banking industry in the 1990s pushed major

Canadian banks to begin discounting their posted rates on a customer to customer




12Lawrence B. Smith, "Financial Intermediary Lending Behaviour in the Postwar
Canadian Mortgage Market." The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Aug., 1967: 493.
13Mal Eccles, interview by Andrew Williams. IMBA History (February 02, 2010).
14Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association, "About AMBA." 2010.
http://www.amba.ca/Default.aspx?tabid=71 (accessed February 2010).
15CAAMP. "About CAAMP." 2010. http://www.caamp.org/info.php?pid=330 (accessed
November 2009).

                                             6

basis.16 Discountscouldrangefrom25to125basispointsdependingonone'scredit

history, personal relationship with the bank, or personal wealth. However, the effective

mortgage rate (the posted rate minus the discounted rate) remained unchanged in the

late 90s because of the banks began to increase their posted rates to offset their

discounting. Traclet notesthatasof2005"themaximumdiscountedrateofferedby

banks is now broadly in line with the rate offered without negotiation by virtual banks

and mortgage brokers" This statement corroborates the previously presented
                          17



theoretical basis for a mortgage broker's ability to reduce consumer mortgage costs

relative to banks. If consumers can receive low rates from brokers without the burden

of extensive negotiations, they stand to save substantial amount of both money and

time. It is therefore significant that most consumers in the 90s and 2000s did not use

brokers despite the gains they might make.


2.3- Recent Trends in the Canadian Mortgage Market

        Canada's housing market is currently one of the most robust in the world with

over $219,569 million worth of new mortgage credit being extended in 2008. Despite
                                                                              18



the recent recession, Canadians have embraced homeownership as a long-term means

of investment. In an attempt to stimulate national investment, the Bank of Canada has

continually decreased target interest rates from late 2007 onwards. One can see from




16Virginie Traclet. "Structure of the Canadian housing market and finance system." Bank
of Canada, 2005: 4
17Ibid, 5
18CMHC. "CHS - Mortgage Lending 2008." CMHC, 2008: 5

                                             7

Figure 2.1 that since 2007, the average mortgage rates for five year fixed term

mortgages has fallen slightly over a full percent.          19



Figure 2.1 ­ Average Mortgage Rates


                          14

                          12

                          10
             e
              ta
                R
                 ts        8
                   e
                    re
                      tn   6
                        I                                                                    Average rate
                           4

                           2

                           0
                              0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
                              9  9  9  9  9  9  9  9  9  9  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
                               9  9  9  9  9  9  9  9  9  9  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
                               1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2

                                                        Year



Source: CMHC. "Average Residential Mortgage Lending Rate: 5 Year." CMHC, 2010: 1-2.



This decrease in rates has stimulated an increase in mortgage investment by consumers.

As seen in Table 2.1, total outstanding residential mortgage credit increased 20% from

2007 to 2009. The National Housing Act (NPA) Mortgage Back Securities section of the

table shows a 12% increase over the measured time period. These NPA mortgages are

largely originated from one of the big five banks and then securitized by the Canadian

government through the CMHC. There is not a decrease in residential mortgage



19James MacGee. "Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland: Why Didn't Canada's Housing
Market Go Bust?" February 12, 2009.
http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/commentary/2009/0909.cfm (accessed Feburary 2010).

                                                        8

originated by the banks, rather, there is a decrease in mortgage credit held and

securitized by the banks.

Table 2.1 ­ Residential Mortgage Credit by Institution


 Institution                                     2007                   2009
                                                               %        In         %     %
                                                 In Millions $ Total    Millions $ Total Change
 Chartered Banks                                 442,116       57%      450,939    48%   -9%
 Trust and Mortgage Loan Companies               8,502         1%       10,321     1%    0%
 Life Insurance Companies                        14,803        2%       15,395     2%    0%
 Pension Funds                                   13,238        2%       15,685     2%    0%
 National Housing Act Mortgage-Backed
 Securities                                      134,593       17%      274,129    29%   12%
 Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires            102,507       13%      117,334    13%   0%
 Special Purpose Corporations (Securitization)   24,886        3%       17,932     2%    -1%
 Other                                           31,492        5%       28,288     3%    -2%


 Total                                           772137        100%     930,023    100%  20%
Source: Canada, Bank of. Residential Mortgage Credit. CANSIM, 03 08, 2010

This increase in mortgage credit however, has largely been contained in a few of the

country'smajorcitiesVancouverandTorontobeingthemostrobustInfluenceofthese

markets pushed average housing prices to the highest they have ever been in the fourth

quarter of 2009. 20




20Tony Wong. "YourHom.ca: Mortgage Debt Soars in Canada." November 17, 2009.
http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/realestate/article/726557--mortgage-debt-soars-in-
canada (accessed January 2010)

                                              9

Figure 2.2 ­ Existing Home Prices




Source: Canada, Government of. "Canada's Economic Action Plan." Action Plan. 12 02, 2009.
www.actionplan.gc.ca (accessed February 2010).


Figure 2.2 shows housing prices from the first quarter of 1989 to the first quarter of

2009. The last 10 years have been characterized with massive growth in housing prices

in both Canada and the US. The Canadian Real Estate Association reports that while

housingpricesrose11%in2009thisfigureisheavilyskewedbythenation'smost

heated markets. This data is consistent with the InternationalMonetaryFund's
                21



findings that the western provinces are overvalued by about 8% when compared to
                                                                 22




21Alyson Fair. "CRENewsMLShomesalesgrowstrongerinthethirdquarter"
October 15th, 2009. http://creanews.ca/2009/10/15/mls%C2%AE-home-sales-grow-
stronger-in-the-third-quarter/ (accessed January 2010).
22Evridiki Tsounta. "Is the Canadian Housing Market Overvalued? A Post-Crisis
Assessment." International Monetary Fund, 2009.

                                           10

therestofCanadaControllingforregionalvariationtheIMFfoundthat"Canadian

home prices presently reflect long-term fundamentals and are closetoequilibrium" It  23



is only in specific cities that the combination of low interest rates and limited housing

has pushed housing prices to their recent heights.

2.4 - Housing Bubble Fears

        During the fall of 2009, various media outlets reported fears of a potential

housing bubble. Traditionally, housing markets follow the overall economic conditions

of the country and one would typically expect a price decrease in the housing market

during a recession. Despite these pressures, Canadians purchased houses while the

interest rates were low, thereby keeping the housing market strong.

        Another concern was that if interest rates were to rise quickly, Canada would see

a wave of mortgage defaults similar to the 2007-2008 American experience. However,

the major Canadian banks and various government organizations were quick to dismiss

claims of a housing bubble. The Bank of Canada declared that the interest rate would

not rise sharply but instead stay at its current overnight rate of 0.25 until the second

quarter of 2010 before rising slowly as the economy enters full recovery. Economist
                                                                            24



Michael Gregory of BMO Nesbitt Burns believes that the housing market is on the




23 Rob McLister, Melanie Mclister. "Canada Mortgage Trends: The Good News About
Cheap Money." November 2, 2009.
http://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/canadian_mortgage_trends/2009/11/the-
good-news-about-cheap-money.html
24 TradingEconomicscom"TradingEconomics : Bank of Canada Holds Rate Low"
January 19, 2010. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/Economics/Interest-
Rate.aspx?Symbol=CAD (accessed February 2010).

                                              11

rebound, not in an inflationary bubble. In a recent Globeinvestor interview, he gives his

reasons for this belief:

         "Discretionaryandbig-ticket purchases of all types were postponed in the post-

         Lehman panic, creating an abnormal amount of pent-updemandOncethe

         panic subsided, pent-up demand started to unwind, pulled by record low

         mortgage rates, cheaper home prices (around 9 per cent on average), and an

         emergingsenseamongconsumersthattheworstoftherecessionwasover"      25



Cities like Vancouver are expensive because of its year round warm temperatures and

international reputation. It is likely that lowerinterestratesaddedtoVancouver'shigh

prices but they should not be seen as the determining factor.

         The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) were criticized for

relaxing their standards in their housing insurance appraisals but this was later found to

be largely unfounded.  26,27It's true that CMHC insured more debt than ever before in

2008 but both the IMF and the Bank of Canada report that it was not done in a reckless

and dangerous way. The people taking advantage of the low rates were those that had
                     28



steady jobs and good credit ratings, not the marginal customers that characterized the



25VirginiaGalt"GlobeInvester: Three Views on a Housing Bubble." November 16, 2009.
http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/story/GI.20091116.escenic_1365253/GIStory/
(accessed November 2009).
26JamesMacGee"Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland: Why Didn't Canada's Housing
Market Go Bust?"Febuary122009
http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/commentary/2009/0909.cfm (accessed
Feburary 2010).
27Rob McLister, "TheGoodNewsboutCheapMoney"November22009
http://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/canadian_mortgage_trends/2009/11/the-
good-news-about-cheap-money.html
28Ibid

                                              12

2008 subprime crisis in America. A 2006 CAAMP consumer survey also accessed the fear

of default expressed by Canadians and found that only 9% of mortgage holders

considered themselves in danger if interest rates increased.29



        Mortgage brokers during the last 5 years have increased their market presence

by 11% thanks partially to the strength of the housing market. 30High housing prices in

the most expensive areas of the country have made seeking the lowest mortgage rate

extremely important. The difference of even a few basis points can have a massive

effectonthetotalcostofone'smortgageTherecentincreasein the use of brokers will

be fully expanded upon in subsequent chapters. In addition, a theoretical demonstration

of the increase consumer surplus achieved by getting a lower mortgage rate will be

provided.




29Will Dunning. "Consumer Mortgage Choices in a Changing Market." CIMBL, 2006: 7
30CMHC. "2009 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2009: 3

                                            13

Chapter 3 ­ Critical Issues with the
Mortgage Broker Industry

3.1 - Problems with Experience and Consumer Confidence


        The inherent individualism of the broker industry, combined with the lack

national standards of education until 2004, has resulted in an inconsistently trained and

experienced workforce. Despite the ability to reduce consumer searches costs and

mortgage rates, the inconsistent quality of the individual brokers presents a substantial

obstacle to the industryVariousbrokerassociationshaveincreasedtheindustry's

standards but unfortunately, many young and poorly trained brokers are hindering the

industry'sabilitytocompetewiththebanksWhilenoonehasactuallymeasuredthe

damage done to the industry by inexperienced brokers, there are signs of the negative

effects they produce.


        Consumer satisfaction surveys are a possible way of measuring the public's

opinion of both brokers and banks. CAAMP recently commissioned Maritz Research, to

find consumers' opinions about a range of broker and bank issues. The 2009 report

noted that despite interest rate discounts, consumer "satisfactionisslightlyhigher

amongthoseoriginatingwithaBankorCreditUnion"ratherthanwithabroker In 31



agreement with the Maritz research, the 2009 CMHC Consumer Survey also found that,




31Kyle Davies, Rob Daniel. "Fall 2009 Canadian Mortgage Industry Snapshot: Key
Findings." CAAMP, 2009: 11

                                            14

onaverageconsumer'sratesatisfactiontobehigherwith banks rather than with

brokers. 32




        Despite the advantages of being able to obtain lower rates, brokers are still

limited in their appeal to Canadians. One possible explanation for this can be found in

the Maritz report's additional findings. The survey found that consumers place a very

high value on confidence in the lending institution, rating it just below the highest

concern"interestrateobtained." Customers confidence in brokers is likely to be
                                    33



undermined by the fact that many brokerages are relatively new and do not have the

same history of reliability that the banks have. While there are a number of well

established and experienced brokerages that have been in the industry for many years,

the recent success of the industry has encouraged many to become brokers. These new

brokers are of varying quality because their training is limited and their practice time is

short. Broker experience can be therefore characterized in two main ways: limited (new

brokers) and established (experienced brokers).


3.2 - Mortgage Fraud


        The first efforts to improve training and general professionalism in the industry

came with the creation of CIMBL and the various provincial associations. These

institutionssoughttoredefineconsumer'straditionalperceptionofbrokers being a




32CMHC. "2009 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2009: 1-4.
33Kyle Davies, Rob Daniel. "Fall 2009 Canadian Mortgage Industry Snapshot: Key
Findings." CAAMP, 2009: 1-16.

                                             15

"lendersoflastresort" Compounding this negative perception is the widespread
                        34



association of mortgage fraud and brokers. Mortgage fraud is defined by the Criminal

Intelligence Service of Canada as the


        "Deliberate use of misstatements, misrepresentations or omissions to fund,

        purchase or secure a loan. Simply put, mortgage fraud is any scheme designed to

        obtain mortgage financing under false pretences, such as using fraudulent or

        stolen identification or falsifying income statements."35




In thecontextofCanadianmortgagebrokersthetheftanduseofaborrower'smoney

and identity are some of the most common forms. As brokers have access to a

tremendous amount of private credit information, some have been known to access

credit history and personal details without authorisation. 36The purpose of this abuse of

client information is most often identity theft .
                                                37   In America, brokers have allowed

consumers to falsify or inflate their earnings in order to become eligible for larger

mortgages. This type of fraud is usually only discovered once the borrower defaults on




34 DerekSankey"CanwestNewsMortgagebrokersfindalargerniche" March 30,
2009. http://www.donnalodberg.com/index.php/why_a_mortgage_broker (accessed
February 2010).
35CriminalIntelligenceServiceCanada"MortgageFraudOrganizedCrimeinCanada"
2010.
http://www.cisc.gc.ca/products_services/mortgage_fraud/mortgage_fraud_e.html
(accessed February 2010).
36Tara Perkins"ReportonBusinessFedsProbeMortgageBrokerages"ugust31
2009. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/feds-probe-mortgage-
brokerages/article1270265/ (accessed December 2009).
37CBCNews"CourtrulingfreesTorontocouplefromfraudulentmortgage"November
1, 2006. http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2006/11/01/mortgage-fraud.html
(accessed March 2010).

                                               16

the mortgage. Recently in Canada, a fraudster named James Gibb was charged with
               38



defrauding two separate borrowers of $400,000. Gibb claimed to be an investment, loan

and mortgage broker through his self run company called Micropayments Inc. but in

reality he had no qualifications. . Mortgage fraud is estimated by industry and
                                 39



government sources to cost consumers and industry hundreds of millions dollars

annually . Additionally, in the summer of 2009, the federal government began an
         40



extensive audit of Ontario brokers suspected of fraudulent activity. 41 In September of

2009 it was reported that


        "TheFinancialServicesCommissionofOntariohasconductedatleast68

        investigations into the suitability of individuals who have applied for mortgage

        broker or agent licences, and at least two investigations involving unlicensed




38Sasharms"MortgageFraudandtheGlobalEconomicDownturn"September15
2009.
http://crime.suite101.com/article.cfm/mortgage_fraud_and_the_global_economic_do
wnturn#ixzz0hADUazVx (accessed February 2010).
39Stuart Paterson. "Globe and Mail: Ontario man accused of two frauds worth
$400000" November 30, 2009.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/ontario-man-accused-of-
two-frauds-worth-400000/article1383131/ (accessed February 2010).
40Criminal Intelligence ServiceCanada"Mortgage Fraud & Organized Crime in Canada"
2010.
http://www.cisc.gc.ca/products_services/mortgage_fraud/mortgage_fraud_e.html
(accessed February 2010).
41Tara Perkins. "Report on Business: Feds Probe Mortgage Brokerages" August 31,
2009. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/feds-probe-mortgage-
brokerages/article1270265/ (accessed December 2009).

                                               17

        mortgage brokerage activities. It has sought to deny an application for a licence,

        or to revoke a licence, more than 25times"    42




While this level of fraudulent activity exists, it is understandable that consumers are not

as satisfied with brokers as they are with banks. While the vast majority of brokers are

legitimate and trust worthy, a fringe minority are causing significant damage to public

perception of the broker industry. The extent of the problem is not to be

underestimated; Alex Haditaghi, the chief executive of Mortgagebrokers.com, is quoted

as saying "There is tremendous fraud going on in the broker industry," and that federal

investigation is "much needed."   43




3.3- Efforts to reform


        In an effort to establish a base level of qualification need to become a broker,

CIMBL introduced the Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMT) program in 2004. In

addition to this, CIMBL changed their name to the Canadian Association of Accredited

Mortgage Practitioners (CAAMP) in order reinforce the notion of required industry

qualifications. In 2009, CAAMP reported that there are over 12,000 accredited mortgage

practitioners in Canada and professionalism among those who have undertaken the

AMT program has increased.     44 This increase in training seems to be having a effect on

limiting fraud activity. A recent Globe and Mail report stated that while mortgage fraud

42Tara Perkins. "Report on Business: Feds Probe Mortgage Brokerages" August 31,
2009. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/feds-probe-mortgage-
brokerages/article1270265/ (accessed December 2009).
43Ibid
44CAAMP"IndustryOverview" 2009. http://www.caamp.org/info.php?pid=331
(accessed 2010).

                                              18

still exists in Canada, it is decreasing nationwide from 90s levels. Furthermore,
                                                                   45



individual brokerages are beginning to take steps themselves to ensure they do not hire

fraudsters by requiring credit and criminal record checks on all potential applicants to

their firm. Greater media coverage of significant cases will also make more people
            46



aware to the dangers of mortgage fraud and how to avoid it.


         The AMT program has increased average broker competence to a standard

minimum level but unfortunately, the level of experience of the average broker remains

low. A large number of the brokers working in Canada today have only entered the

industry in the last five years. 47 Doug Robison, manager of fraud prevention at Scotia

Mortgage Authority, a ScotiaBank mortgage brokerage, believes that this group of

poorly experienced brokers is dangerous to the consumer. Robison advocates that

consumers should be very careful when picking a broker because of the varying quality

thatisinherentintheindustryHecommentsthat"themorebrokersyou use, the

increasedchancethereisoffraudoccurring" For a country that is already reluctant
                                                 48



to compare interest rates between banks, the added challenge of comparing potential

mortgage brokers for quality does not endear the average consumer to the industry.


45KarimBardeesy"ReportonBuisnessMortgageFraudDownbutNotOut" October
13, 2009. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/the-
law-page/mortgage-fraud-down-but-not-out/article1322236/ (accessed 11 2009).
46Tara Perkins. "Report on Business: Feds Probe Mortgage Brokerages" August 31,
2009. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/feds-probe-mortgage-
brokerages/article1270265/ (accessed December 2009).
47DavidBenson"MortgageExpertiseMortgageIntelligence" 2008.
http://www.mortgageexpertise.ca/insidepages/aboutus.htm (accessed February 2010).
48Mortgage Broker News. "GuidetoCombattingFraud" September 23, 2009.
http://www.mortgagebrokernews.ca/contents/details.aspx?id=37255&tid=&ctyp=&p=2
(accessed February 2010).

                                               19

3.4 - The Major Banks in Canada: An Overview


        Canada's Big Five Banks represent one of the most substantial challenges to the

broker industry due to their size and pervasiveness. Combined, the Big Five banks have

over 5,000 bank branches and employ close to 300,000 personnel nationwide. This   49



significant presence within Canadian communities allows for an unrivalled access to

consumers as well as control over the distribution of market information. As a

consequence of this, these banks are responsible for originating the majority of

mortgage credit in Canada. In addition to have a large market presence, Canada's
                             50



banks are regarded as some of the best in the world. In 2008, the World Economic

Forum declared that Canadian banks form the world'ssoundest banking system. Due    51



to Canada's relative stability during the 2008 Financial Crisis, the international opinion of

the Canadian banking system has increased substantially with even President Obama

takingnoteofCanada'sstabilityduringa2009CBC interview.    52




        This perception of strength and stability has had a positive effect on customer

trust, even throughout the recent recession. In 2009 a global marketing information

firm, J.D. Power and Associates, reported that customer satisfaction with Banks has




49Note 2 - See Appendix A for explanation
50Bank of Canada. "Residential Mortgage Credit." CANSIM, 03 08, 2010.
51Taylor, Rob. "Canada rated world's soundest bank system." October 02, 2008.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE4981X220081009 (accessed February 2010).
52Vieira. "Obama finds the Canadian banking system 'striking." February 18, 2009.
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpposted/archive/2009/02/18/obama-finds-the-
canadian-banking-system-striking.aspx (accessed February 2010).

                                             20

remained stable throughout 2008 and 2009. As mentioned previously, the 2009 Maritz
                                               53



Consumer survey found the perception of stability to be extremely important to

consumers. As a result of the banks proven stability, lender loyalty is has been found to

be extremely high. Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1, confirm this statement.


Table 3.1 ­ Sentiment by Bank

           Very        Somewhat                   Somewhat           Very
 Bank      Positive    Positive          Neutral  Negative           Negative        % Positive or neutral
 BMO            9%              24%       58%                 3%             6%         91%
 Td           10%               20%       55%                12%             3%         85%
 CIBC           7%              32%       47%                10%             4%         86%
 BNS            4%              28%       60%                 5%             3%         92%
 RBC            4%              45%       39%                 9%             3%         88%


Source: Gladney, Patrick. The"Big-Five"CanadianBanksinSocialMedia October 1, 2009.
http://socialcurrency.nsresearch.com/2009/10/the-%E2%80%9Cbig-five%E2%80%9D-canadian-
banks-in-social-media/ (accessed February 2010).

Table 3.1, taken from a study done by a social researching company called NorthStar

Research Partners, shows that in 2009, Canadians were overwhelmingly positive on

their perceptions of the Big five banks. The study cites the reason for this positive

sentiment as coming from consumer knowledge of recent failures in the American

Banking system. In addition, international commendation for Canadian banks also

contributed to positive consumer perceptions.




53CMagazine"Customer satisfaction with Canadian banks remains stable." February 2010.
http://www.camagazine.com/archives/web-features/2009/camagazine29536.aspx (accessed
Feburary 2010).

                                             21

Figure 3.1 ­ Trends in Public Support for the Banks




Source: Counsel,TheStrategic"ssessmentsofCanada'sBanksFall2008"Canadian Bankers
Association, 2008: 1-18.

Figure 3.1 shows favorability ratings for Canada's major banks over the last thirty years.

The decrease in unfavourable ratings from 2006 to 2008 coincides with the recent

period financial turmoil. Consumers are signalling through these surveys that that

stability is a key indicator in determining consumer preference. As mentioned, mortgage

brokers have had difficulties in the past with fraud and negative consumer perceptions.

These problems contribute to consumer perceptions of industry instability and as such

they are reluctant to try brokers. Banks are viewed as trustworthy and therefore

consumers regard them with increasing reports of satisfaction.



                                              22

3.5 ­ Advertising


        Canadian Mortgage Trends, a broker information blog, recently reported that

only 10% of an average broker's customers come to them because of advertising. The

majorityofcustomerscamefromothercustomer'sreferrals. This statistic points to an
                                                              54



important facet of the banks dominance of the Canadian market: their advertising

budgets. The Big Five all have marketing and promotion budgets that go into the

hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2008, Scotia Bank alone spent $320 million, which was

an increase of 9% from 2007. In comparison, the largest Credit Union in the country,
                             55



Vancity Credit Union, is reported to have spent $10.962 million on marketing and

promotions. Brokerages are private firms, as such do not publish their marketing
             56



expenditures and a direct comparison cannot be conclusively made. However, an

indirect comparison can be made by looking organizations that represent Canadian

mortgage brokers such as CAAMP. In CAAMP's 2007-2008 annual report, $322,015 was

spent on public relations. In addition to this, over 80% of the membership fees taken
                          57



from their Accredited Mortgage Practitioner (AMP) program are used in the promotion

of the AMP designation. This amounted to over $1.714 million in 2008. Private
                                                                       58



Brokerages engage in a variety of advertising methods with television commercials,


54Mortgage Broker News"MortgageBrokersToday" December 01, 2009.
http://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/canadian_mortgage_trends/2009/12/mortg
age-brokers-today.html?cid=6a00d8341c74cb53ef01287600b67c970c (accessed
February 2010).
55ScotiaBank"2008nnualReport" 2008.
http://cgi.scotiabank.com/annrep2008/en/index.html (accessed February 2010).
56Vancity Credit Union. "2008 Annual Report." Vancity Credit Union, 2008: 1-58.
57CAAMP. "Annual Report 2007-2008." CAAMP, 2008: 11
58CAAMP. "Annual Report 2007-2008." CAAMP, 2008: 8

                                            23

print ads, and websites being the most prominent. A representative from Dominion

Lending, a fast growing national brokerage firm, was recently interviewed on the

"CanadianMortgageTrends" blog on the subject of advertising. The representative,

President Gary Mauris, is quoted as saying:


       "Ourbudgetforadvertisingoverthenext12monthsiswellover$2 million,

       primarily directed towards television advertising. From September 2008 to

       September 2009 our base buy of television advertising will make more than 140

       millionviewerimpressionsviamorethan7300commercialsacrossCanada"       59




While these figures are significant, the bank's advertising dominance is hardly being

challenged. The only example of major competition to the Big Five comes from the

international online lending institution ING Direct. Internationally, in 2007, ING direct

spent $1,017 million on advertising and promotion. In 2006, the Credit Union Central of

Canada hired Financial Industry Research Monitor (FIRM), an industry research group, to

accessconsumer'sperceptionsonawidevarietyofmortgagetopicsOnerelevant

question regarded the advertising recall among consumers during the 2006-2007

period. Figure 3.2 showsthebreakdownofthesurveyedconsumer'sabilityto

remember advertising over three separate survey periods: September 2006, June 2007,

and September 2007. ING Direct achieved top recall scores for two of the surveyed

periods, September 2006 and June 2007, and was beaten by RBC in September 2007.


59Mortgage Broker New, "Dominion Lending: A Chat with Gary Mauris." October 23,
2008.
http://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/canadian_mortgage_trends/2008/10/domin
ion-lending-a-chat-with-gary-mauris.html (accessed February 2010).

                                            24

The key conclusion is that in order to make substantial inroads in regards to advertising

in Canada, the mortgage broker industry will need to spend significantly more money.


Figure 3.2 Advertising Recall




Source: Monitor, Financial Industry Research. "FIRM Residential Mortgage Survey." Credit Union
Central of Canada, 2008: 1-116.

3.6 - Bank Brokerages


        In an effort to undermine independent brokers, the Big Five Banks have in the

last 10 years begun to open their own brokerages that work exclusively for them. These

bank brokers work in the same way as independent brokers with one pivotal difference:

instead of comparing rates from a diverse selection of banks, they only offer rates from



                                               25

onebankTDcall'stheirs"MobileMortgageSpecialists" because of their willingness to
                                                            60



traveltoyouHectorMcMillanaseniorindependentbrokerreferstothemas"road

runners"andequatesthemtothetravelling salespeople of the mortgage industry.     61



While they may offer a wider selection of mortgage products and rates than the typical

bank branch mortgage planner, they are still constrained by their allegiance to one

bank. Furthermore, they do not necessarily havetheborrower'sbestinterestsinmind

Independent brokers work almost entirely for commissions given from lenders and as

mentioned; their customers are largely referral based. Bank brokers have the interests

oftheiremployerinmindandthey'recustomers are derived from affiliation with the

bank. While the difference may seem cosmetic, both McMillan        62and a representative

from CanEquity , an Alberta mortgage brokerage, expressed concern over this growing
                63



source of competition.

3.7 - Status Quo Bias

        The final critical issue, status quo bias, brings together many of the previously

statedproblemsfacingthemortgagebrokerindustryStatusquobiasisdefinedas"a

strong tendency to remain at the status quo because the disadvantages of leaving it

[seem]largerthantheadvantages" This perception of the great cost of change,
                                       64




60Tonya Russell. "Your Mortgage Professional." 2009.
http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/msf/tonyarussell/index.html (accessed February 2010).
61Hector McMillan , interview by Andrew Williams. The Canadian Mortgage Market
(January 11, 2010).
62Ibid
63CanEquity Representative, interview by Andrew Williams. Mortgage Brokers in
Canada (November 2009).
64Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Nudge. (New York, Penguin Books Ltd, 2008),
68

                                               26

regardless of the reality, has been demonstrated in numerous fields of economics as

well as in political science and psychology. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their
                                           65



2008 book, Nudge, show status quo bias to having a dramatic effect on subjects as

varied as individual savings, healthcare choice, and product marketing .  66



        The current status quo for consumers looking for a mortgage is their traditional

banking institution. The creation and maintenance of this status quo is likely drawn from

acombinationoffactorsTheconvenienceofusingone'sownlendinginstitutionan

ignorance of other lending institutions, a distrust of mortgage brokers, a fear of

mortgage fraud, an ignorance of the consumer benefits of using mortgage brokers, are

all contributing factors. The fear of change is reinforced by the negative aspects of the

broker industry and the pervasive influence of the Big Five`s marketing campaigns. If

the mortgage broker industry is to flourish in Canada, it is necessary for the industry to

redefine the bias in their favour. Key to undermining the traditional relationship

between banks and potential borrowers is capturing the first time buyer market.

Mortgage brokers seem to be making the most headway in this area with 44% of first

time purchasers in 2009 using the services of a broker, up from 28% in 2005. These
                                                                                67



consumers tend to be young, aged 25 to 34, and have larger outstanding mortgage
                                              68



amounts. By focusing on the first time buyer markets, brokers will set themselves up
          69




65Behavioural Finance. "StatusQuoBias" http://status-quo-
bias.behaviouralfinance.net/ (accessed February 2010).
66Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Nudge. (New York, Penguin Books Ltd, 2008)
67CMHC. "2009 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2009: 3
68CMHC. "2008 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2008: 5
69Financial Industry Research Monitor. "FIRM Residential Mortgage Survey." Credit
Union Central of Canada, 2008: 31

                                             27

for return business in the form of refinancing, renewal, and new mortgages from these

customers. Currently the most under represented demographics for broker usage are

renewers and refinancers, at 12% and 25% usage respectively, and this is most likely

because these customers rely on their status quo lending institution. When originally

purchasing their mortgage, these consumers were likely unaware of mortgage brokers

or had a negative opinion of them and therefore went to their status quo bank. In the

following Chapter, the theoretical model used to estimate the increase in consumer

surplus and social welfare will be outlined.




                                            28

Chapter 4 ­ Market Characteristics

4.1 - Introduction


    In this chapter, the concept of third degree price discrimination will be outlined as

the model to provide an answer to the question "ifthelimitationsinherentinthe

mortgage broker industry were removed, what would be the increase in consumer

surplus?" The impediments discussed in the previous chapter can be summarized as

follows: mortgage broker inexperience and fraud, theBigFive'sdominance of

advertising and consumer opinion, and the status quo bias amongst Canadians. These

impediments currently allow for the existence of price discrimination in the Canadian

mortgage market and therefore significantly impact consumer surplus. Relevant market

characteristics will now be detailed. This will be followed by an estimation of lost

consumer surplus and social welfare.

4.2- Monopolistic Competition

         The first market assertion is that the Canadian banking system is

monopolistically competitive. This has been characterized by a number of studies, most

recently, BikkerSpierdijkandFinnie's Misspecification of the Panzar-Rosse Model:

Assessing Competition in the Banking Industry in 2006, llenandLiu'sA Note on

Contestability in the Canadian Banking Industry in 2007, and Allen and McVanel's Price

Movements in the Canadian Residential Mortgage Market in 2009. Bikker, Spierdijk, and

Finnie systematically reviewed the conclusions of 28 studies that concern the

contestability of various banks worldwide and tested them empirically using a Panzar-


                                              29

Rosse model. The authors conclude that that most studies overestimate the level of

competition in a given nations banking system and Canada is one such nation. Allen and

Liu build on the conclusions of Bikker, Spierdijk, and Finnie by testing the

competitiveness of the Canadian bank system directly. They conclude that while

comparative statistics cannot completely identify the market power structure in Canada,

rejecting the monopolistic competition conclusion is unlikely. Allen and McVanel
                                                               70



confirm the findings of the previous two papers as well as conducting analysis of the

banks use of posted rates in price setting behaviour.

        Monopolistically competitive industries are defined as "market structures in

which firms have market power but no additional firms can enter and earn positive

profits." Additionally, monopolistically competitive markets are characterized in the
        71



following way: no firm has total control over the market price, consumers perceive that

there are non-price differences among the competitors' products, there are few barriers

to entry and exit, and producers have ability to raise price profitably above marginal

cost.72 While Canada's five largest banks may initially appear to follow an oligopoly

model, the presence of smaller competitive firms gives Canada'sfinancial services

market a higher degree of competition. While the Big five originate the majority of the

mortgage credit, a diverse range of smaller institutions make up the significant



70Jason Allen, Ying Liu. "A Note on Contestability in the Canadian Banking Industry."
Bank Of Canada, 2007: 13
71Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007),419
72Economics Online. "Economics Online - Price Discrimination." 2010.
http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Business_economics/Price_discrimination.html
(accessed 02 24, 2010).

                                            30

remainder. In Figure 4.1, the market share that each type of institution had in 2009 is

given. It is important to note that the 29% accorded to National Housing Act Securities

are mortgages that were originated largely by charted banks and subsequently

securitized by the CMHC. If one considers this point of origination, charted banks can be

seen as originating closeto80%ofthemarket'smortgagecreditThisisaccordance with

the three previously mentioned studies which have found that the market characterized

by monopolistic competition.

Figure 4.1 Residential Mortgage Credit % By Institution


                     2%      3%
                                                                       Chartered Banks


                                                                       Trust and Mortgage Loan
                  13%                                                  Companies

                                                                       Life Insurance Companies


                                                                       Pension Funds
                                                  48%

                                                                       National Housing Act mortgage-
                                                                       backed securities

              29%                                                      Credit Unions and Caisses
                                                                       Populaires

                                                                       Special Purpose Corportations
                                                                       (Securitization)

                                                                       Other


                         2% 2% 1%


Source: Canada, Bank of. Residential Mortgage Credit. CANSIM, 03 08, 2010.




                                            31

4.3 - Asymmetric information

        This assumption holds that the market is characterized by consumers having

access only to asymmetric information. Asymmetric information is defined as a

"situation in which one party to a transaction knows a material fact that the other party

does not." In the case of the Canadian mortgage industry, banks and brokers know
           73



about interest rate comparison and discounting while most consumers do not. The

presence of this asymmetric information creates a market distortion which the Big Five

capitalize on by charging higher interest rates. Use of mortgage broker is evidence that a

consumer is no longer constrained by this lack of information.


4.4 - Price Discrimination


        Price discrimination is defined as "the practice by which a firm charges

consumers different prices for the same good."   74 Price discrimination is dependent on

the following three characteristics:


    1) Imperfect Competition
    2) Consumer Variation
    3) No Arbitrage


The first characteristic holds that a "firm must have market power, otherwise it cannot

charge anything other than the competitive price, firms that are monopolistically

competitive can do this." The second assumption holds that "Consumers must differ in
                          75




73Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007), 636
74Ibid, 385
75Ibid, 389

                                             32

their sensitivity to price and a firm must be able to identify how consumers differ in this

sensitivity." The final assumption is that arbitrage (resale) is not possible or is not
             76



economically viable.


        The Canadian Banking system fulfills all three of the price discrimination

characteristics. Previously it has been mentioned that the Canadian banking system has

been found to be monopolistically competitive thus fulfilling the first assumption. The

second assumption, consumer variation, is fulfilled by the fact that consumers are

individuals that have specific and unique preferences. In terms of the mortgage market,

theseuniquepreferencesarebasedonanindividual'slevelofpricesensitivity. Price

sensitivity is the relationship between quantity demanded of a good or service and the

change in its price. Depending on how sensitive a consumer is, a change in price can

have a dramatic influence on demand. Firms can identify a borrower's sensitivity to

price by looking at their credit history or during a mortgage negotiation. If a borrower is

highly sensitive, they will likely reject any uncompetitive interest rates offered by any

particular bank. The high sensitivity of such a consumer is likely based on their access to

industry information. If a consumer is poorly educated about the mortgage industry

rates, they will probably have a low sensitivity to interest rates offered by a bank. This

means that they will accept higher mortgage rates compared to those that consult a

broker.




76Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007), 389

                                               33

         The final assumption of no arbitrage can be quickly accepted by the very nature

of the Canadian mortgage market. The acquisition of cheap mortgage rates and then the

consequent resale of those mortgages require large amounts of capital and significant

market presence for it to be viable. Consequently, Canada has historically seen very

little repackaging and securitization of mortgages, unlike America. Some
                                                                   77



commentators have regarded this fact as a major reason for Canada's current banking

stability.78




77 Will Dunning. "The Canadian Residential Mortgage Market During Challenging Times."
CAAMP, April 2009: 7 - 10.
78 Ibid, 8

                                            34

Figure 4.2 ­ Price Discrimination




        In Figure 4.2, a basic example of monopolistic price discrimination is displayed. The key

components relevant to this thesis are consumer surplus (CS), producer surplus (PS) and

deadweight loss. Consumer surplus is defined as"themonetarydifferencebetweenwhata

consumer is willing to pay for the quantity of the good purchased and what the good actually

costs." Producersurplusisdefinedas"thedifferencebetweentheamountforwhichagood
       79



sells and the minimum amount necessaryforthesellertobewillingtoproducethegood"   80



Lastly, deadweight loss is defined as "the net reduction in welfare from a loss of surplus by one




79Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007), 267
80Ibid, 272

                                                35

group that is not offset by a gain to another group from an action that alters a market

equilibrium" 81




         If a monopolistically competitive firm sets the price equal to P1, this will result in the

quantity of Q1 being sold. The triangle above the line P1 to E1 is the surplus captured by the

consumer. Anything below that line is the producer surplus. The deadweight loss is the area

right of line E1 to Q1. It is the surplus that is forgone by both consumers and producers and

represents a welfare loss to society as a whole. Elimination of deadweight loss is needed for a

market to achieve economic efficiency.


4.5- The Three Types of Price Discrimination


         When discussing price discrimination, it is important to establish which level of

discrimination characterizes the Canadian mortgage market.


4.5.1 - First Degree Price Discrimination


         First degree discrimination, also called perfect discrimination, is a situation in

which a firm sells each unit at the maximum amount any customer is willing to pay so

prices differ across customers and a given customer may pay more for some units than

for others.  82Perfect price discrimination is a theoretical concept and cannot be applied

to the mortgage market in Canada. While banks try to make a strong estimate of a

consumer'sprice sensitivity, they are not able account for the myriad of unobservable

variables that makes up aperson'sactual price sensitivity.



81Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007), 276
82Ibid, 391

                                                    36

4.5.2 - Second Degree Price Discrimination


        Secondary Price Discrimination, also called quantity discrimination, describes a

situation which a firm charges a different price for large quantities than for small

quantities. In addition, all customers who buy a given quantity pay the same price.  83




Figure 4.3 - Second Degree Price Discrimination




In Figure 4.3, the monopolist can increase its producer surplus by offering two prices for

two different quantities. A single price monopolist would could operate at Q1 and P1


83Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007), 391

                                            37

and expect a consumer surplus of area A and a producer surplus of areas B and E. A

quantity discriminating monopolist would offer a second quantity and price at Q2 and

P2 respectively. This would result in an increase in consumer surplus of area C and an

increase of producer surplus of area F. Deadweight loss decreases between the two

pricing models from an area of C, D, and F, to an area of just D.


        Quantity discrimination can be related to the relationship between brokers and

thevariouslendinginstitutionsinCanadaMortgagebrokersarelargelypaidafinder's

fee by the respective institutions for bringing in mortgage clients and institutions have

been known to give special rates to brokers that bring in high numbers of borrowers .  84



If a broker were to bring a large quantity of borrowers to an institution, they could use

that as leverage to pressure the institution to quote them lower interest rates. This, in

turn, would make them more competitive in the broker market. Quantity discrimination

describes the relationship between banks and brokers but not between customers,

banks, and brokers. Third degree price discrimination is the most suitable for that

relationship.




84 Paul Kaihla. "Canada Mortgage Broker: If you're looking for a cut-rate mortgage, don't
go to the bank -- call a broker." 2004.
http://canadamortgagebroker.ca/brokers/canadian_business.htm (accessed 02 2010).

                                             38

4.5.3 - Third Degree Price Discrimination


        Third Degree Price Discrimination, also called Multimarket discrimination, is a

situationinwhichafirmchargesdifferentgroupsofcustomer'sdifferentpricesbut

charges a given customer the same price for every unit of output sold .  85




Figure 4.4 ­ Third Degree Price Discrimination




In Figure 4.4, the monopolist has access to two separate markets, Market 1 and Market

2. Each market has a different relative price sensitivity, as indicated by the differences in

the demand curves slopes. Market 1 is relatively more price sensitive and as such the

monopolist can only charge price P1, for the quality Q2. It picks this price because it

maximizes its producer surplus when its MR curve meets its MC line. Market 2 is much


85Jeffery M Perloff. Microeconomics: Forth Edition. (Boston, Pearson Education Inc,
2007), 391

                                            39

more price insensitivity then Market 1 and as such has a steeper demand curve. This

allows the monopolist to charge a much higher price, P2, for a comparable quantity, Q2.

As each graph is drawn in to the same scale, one can see the difference in producer

surplus, consumer surplus, and deadweight loss between the two markets. By practicing

multi market price discrimination, a monopolist can increase its surplus over markets

with different price sensitivities.


        Third degree discrimination is the most applicable pricing model if one wishes to

describe the differences in consumer surplus that consumers face when borrowing from

banks or brokers. If one separates the mortgage market into two groups, those that use

mortgage brokers and those that do not, one can compare each market and

subsequently estimate the total loss in consumer surplus from borrowing directly from

banks. The mortgage broker clients, who are more price sensitive, will theoretically

receive better rates. Their use of brokers compels lenders to compete with each other

and this competition will result in the lowering of interest rates to a more competitive

level. Those that do not know to use mortgage brokers do not demand the same level of

competition and are therefore likely to receive higher interest rates.


        The end goal of analyzing price discrimination in the Canadian market is to

establish the difference in consumer surplus achieved by different segments. Consumers

that receive their mortgage credit through brokers will likely experience a significant

increase in their surplus compared to those that originate with banks. In the next

section, consumer surplus among broker and bank customers will be compared on a



                                            40

nationwide level. While these consumer surplus differences are estimates, they

effectively convey the idea that Canadian consumers are missing out on significant

savings.




                                           41

Chapter 5 ­Price Discrimination in the
Mortgage Market

5.1- Introduction


        In this chapter, the market characteristics discussed in the previous chapter will

be applied directly to a third degree price discrimination model using Canadian

mortgage data gathered from a number of market sources. Despite the fact that the

market is characterised by monopolistic competition, this thesis will use a monopoly

price discrimination model. The major difference between the two depends more on

levels of contestability in the industry rather than differentiated products. As this model

is concerned with only one product, 5 year fixed rate mortgages; the monopoly model is

deemed applicable.


        The forgone amount of consumer surplus from using a bank rather than a broker

will be estimated on a national level. The reasons behind forgone consumer surplus

were covered in Chapter 3. As a review, the main points are as follows: mortgage broker

inexperience and fraudtheBigFive'sdominanceofadvertisingandconsumeropinion

and the established status quo bias amongst Canadians. By providing a numerical

example of the benefits to using a mortgage broker, the previously stated reasons for

broker under use become much more poignant. First, a quick review of the model

conditions will be given, followed by the calculations and graphical representation.




                                             42

5.1 - Assumptions


        In order to represent the Canadian mortgage market as an industry that is

monopolistically competitive and practices price discrimination, a number of conditions

must be established. Firstly, this market is divided into two types of borrower sections:

those that use brokers and those that do not. Secondly, both markets are assumed to

have constant and equal costs of MC. There is no reason to assume either would have

significantly higher or lower costs when it comes to processing actual transactions.

Thirdly, firms are profit maximizing and will produce at the point MC=MR. This is in line

with the monopolistic competition assumption discussed in previous sections. Finally,

the characteristics discussed in the section regarding third degree price discrimination

are applied to this example.


5.3 - An Estimate of Consumer Surplus in Canada


        Using the latest CMHC numbers, it is reported that brokers arranged about 38%

of total mortgage credit 2009. 86  The total amount of mortgage credit in the market in

August of 2008 was $930.0 billion which would indicate that brokers were roughly

responsible for arranging $353.4 billion of the total amount. The majority of remaining

$576.6 billion was arranged via traditional banking and credit institutions. This clearly

divides the market into two separate types of consumers, those that use a broker and

those that do not.




86CMHC. "2009 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2009: 3

                                             43

        Data for average interest savings for consumers that use brokers is not available

so proxy estimates will be used. Differences in posted rates between the Big Five banks

and a broker-only financial institution will serve as the theoretical discounts brokers can

ensurenaverageoftheBigFive'spostedratesfora5yearclosedtermmortgagewas

found to be 5.39% on February 25 , 2010. The rate posted by Firstline Mortgages on the
                                     th



same day was 4.19% for a 5 year closed term mortgage. Firstline Mortgages was picked

because it is a credit institution that only works through mortgage brokers. Independent

consumers cannot borrow from Firstline without going through a broker thereby setting

it apart from many other financial institutions.


        The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) estimates that in January of 2010,

the average national wide house price was $328,537. Using a typical online mortgage
                                                        87



calculatorinthiscasetheonefoundatCanEquity'swebsite, total payments for a 25
                                                               88



year mortgage were calculatedforeachrespectiveinterestrateCMHC'sfeeswere

included, down payment was assumed to be zero, and payments were done monthly.

Using the average bank rate of 5.39%, total payment was found to be $619,125 with

total interest rate payments being $277,447 Using the Firstline rate of 4.19%, total

payment was found to be $549,798 with total interest rate payments being $208,119.

The difference between the two total payments is calculated to be $69,327. February




87 CRE"CREA - MLSStatistics" January 2010.
http://www.crea.ca/public/news_stats/statistics.htm (accessed February 2010).
88 CanEquity"CanEquityMortgageCalculator" Feburary 2010.
http://www.canequity.com/mortgage-calculator/ (accessed February 2010).

                                              44

5.4 - Graphical Representation



Figure 5.1 ­ Increase in Consumer Surplus




       Figure 5.1 is similar to Figure 4.4 in that it represents third degree price

discrimination. The major difference is that in this case, each market mirrors each other

about a single vertical axis. The vertical axis is measures the total mortgage payment (P)

that a mortgage consumer can expect to pay for a given interest rate. The horizontal

axis measures the total amount of mortgage credit there is in the Canadian market. Side

one represents the demand curve of the broker market while side two represents the

non broker market. Currently, the broker market is at equilibrium at point Eb where the



                                              45

quantity of mortgage credit supplied (Qbrk) is $353.4 billion at an average total home

cost of $0.000549 billion. The non-broker market is at equilibrium at point E1 where the

quantity of mortgage credit supplied (Qbanks) is $576.6 billion at an average total home

cost of $0.000619 billion. If brokers were to be used by the entire market, the market

would be at equilibrium at point E2. At this point brokers would arrange all $930.0

billion of mortgage credit at point Qbkhy (Broker Hypothetical) at an average total home

cost of $0.000549 billion.


           To calculate the increase in CS that would be generated if the entire market used

the broker interest rate of 4.19%, the following equation was used:


    =  +

                        =   -   + [0.5  -   -  ]
                                                                                    )



Using the numbers described in the previous section, the calculated increase in

Consumer Surplus is found to be $41.2 million in 2009.


           In order to calculate the total increase in welfare, a value for the marginal cost

(MC) must first be established. The marginal cost of mortgage lending is the opportunity

cost of investing that money elsewhere. For the purposes of this thesis, the 30 year

Government of Canada bond yield will be used as the alternative investment

opportunity; this yield will be set at 4%.               89      Using the previously mentioned Can Equity

mortgage calculator, the total mortgage cost for a $328,537 mortgage paid over 25


89 BankofCanada"BondsandRates"Bank of Canada. March 2010.
http://www.tmxmoney.com/HttpController?GetPage=BondsAndRates&Language=en
(Accessed March 16 , 2010)  th


                                                                 46

years at 4% interest is $539,188.90. Like the broker and bank rate examples, the

conditions of monthly payments, no down payment, and CMHC fees were applied.

Marginal cost will therefore be equal to $0.000539 billion (Pbnd).


       The total increase in social welfare is equal to the decrease in deadweight loss.

Originally, sections A, B and E made up the market deadweight loss. By using the broker

rate, sections A and B are converted from deadweight loss to consumer surplus (A) and

producer surplus (B). Using the following equation:

                    =  +

                                       =      -   - 

                                       + [0.5  -   -  ]
                                                           )



The decrease in deadweight loss is calculated to be $15.89 million.


Table 5.1 ­ Calculated Findings
 Finding
                                                     In
                                                     Millions
 Increase in Consumer Surplus (A+D)                  41.2
 Increase in Producer Surplus (B)                    3.53
 Increase in Social Welfare (A+B)                    15.89
 Decrease in Deadweight Loss (A+B)                   15.89


       Table 5.1 summarizes the findings of the chapter. Increase in social welfare is

alternatively stated as the decrease in deadweight loss. The remaining deadweight loss,

section E, represents the fact that even with greater competition due to mortgage

broker usage, the market is still monopolistically competitive. While the deadweight loss

can be minimized, it is unlikely to be eliminated completely.



                                                        47

Chapter 6 ­ Summary and Conclusion

6.1 - Summary


        Chapter 1 provided an overview of the relevant thesis questions and study

rationale. The question asked was: why are mortgage brokers underused in Canada and

what could be gained from increasing their usage? In addition general mortgage market

statistics were introduced to give context for the forthcoming chapters.


        Chapter 2 dealt with fundamental mortgage industry characteristics. Mortgage

brokers were defined and a basic overview of their role was given. A short history of the

broker industry was then detailed with the conclusion that most of significant broker

activity has happened in the last 10 to 20 years. An overview of the recent trends within

the Canadian housing market was included with emphasis placed on the recent (2007-

2009) increases in housing prices and mortgage demand. Finally, the potential 2009

housingbubblewasdiscussedwiththeconclusionthatCanada'shousingmarketis

generally close its fundamental equilibrium.90




        Chapter 3 was devoted to the critical issues that impede the expansion of the

mortgage broker industry. The main concepts discussed were mortgage broker

inexperienceandfraudtheBigFive'sdominanceinadvertisingandconsumeropinion

and the established status quo bias amongst Canadians. These reasons formed the basis

for the subsequent development of the third degree price discrimination model shown


90Jason Allen, Ying Liu. "A Note on Contestability in the Canadian Banking Industry."
Bank Of Canada, 2007: 7

                                            48

in Chapter 5. This chapteralsoincludedsectionsconcerningtheindustry'seffortto

reform and the how the use of the internet is affecting the industry.


       Chapter 4 established a market framework for the Canadian Mortgage Market.

The market characteristics established were monopolistic competition, asymmetric

information, and price discrimination. Third degree price discrimination was deemed

the best at describing the Canadian mortgage industry. Consumers were split into two

separate markets, those that use brokers and those that do not. Based on this split, a

difference between market consumer surpluses was found.


       In Chapter 5, data from Statistics Canada, CMHC, CREA, and CAAMP was applied

to the price discrimination model. Estimates of consumer surplus, producer surplus, and

deadweight loss were made. If all the mortgage credit in Canada was originated at the

estimated lower mortgage broker interest rate, societal welfare would increase by

$15.89 million. The consumer surplus portion of this welfare, amounting to $41.2

million, is a significant increase for the 5.4 million Canadian mortgage holders.
                                                                                91




91Canadian Mortgage Trends"CMP'snnualMortgageMarketReport- 2009"
November 18, 2009.
http://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/canadian_mortgage_trends/2009/11/caamps-
annual-mortgage-market-report---2009.html (accessed March 17, 2010).



                                               49

6.2 ­ Conclusion


        The fundamental goal of using the third degree price discrimination model was

to convert consumer surplus into a dollar value. The calculated value amounts to

0.062% of the total new mortgage credit orientated in 2009. While this may seem small,

individual mortgage consumers can benefit from even a small decrease in mortgage

costs. The elimination of a significant amount of deadweight loss increases the efficiency

of the industry, and by proxy, the Canadian financial market as a whole.


    The mortgage broker industry, while impeded by its various flaws, has increased its

market share greatly over the last 10 years. Widespread acknowledgement of the

industries limitations has been fundamental to the creation of various solutions such as

the creation of CAAMP or the AMT program. In addition rise of the internet is a

significant contributing factor to the recent increase in broker market share. The

internet has allowed brokers to cheaply target the new internet-savvy generation of first

time buyers whereas mortgages that originated in pre internet periods remain out of

their reach. Internet advertising is much cheaper than traditional methods such as TV

and Billboards and some studies suggest that it can be just as effective.92An

independent mortgage broker can set up an appealing website and advertise on

demographically relevant websites for much cheaper than they could on TV or in




92comScore/dunnhumbyUSA Research. "Online Advertising on Par with TV Advertising in
Growing Retail Sales of Consumer Packaged Goods Brands." August 17, 2009.
http://comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2009/8/comScore_dunnhumbyUSA
_Research_Shows_Online_Advertising_on_Par_with_TV_Advertising_in_Growing_Retail
_Sales_of_Consumer_Packaged_Goods_Brands (accessed March 2010).

                                            50

magazines. A younger demographic is also much more likely to be aware of the

mortgage broker option because they are statistically more likely to search online for

advice and rates. CMHC actively promotes the use of brokers online as do literally
                    93



thousands of independent blogs and web commentators. Due to the expansive nature

of the internet, it is impossible for the banks to create a new monopoly online.

    It is likely that the mortgage broker industry will continue to expand in the future.

Unfortunately, the critical issues that currently characterize the industry are significant

obstacles to prospective customers. Once the problems, broker fraud and inexperience,

are solved, it is likely that the industry will flourish.




93CMHC. "2005 Mortgage Consumer Survey Results." CMHC, 2005: 2.


                                                51

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                                           56

Appendix A

Note 1- The Big Five Banks: Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, The Toronto-
Dominion Bank, the Bank of Nova Scotia, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Note 2 - The Big 5 employ 300,000: This number is based on figures found in each of the
Big Five banks 2009 annual reports




                                          57


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