Ron Butler joins Scott in this episode to talk about their top three predictions for the mortgage industry in the next year. Ron is well-known in the mortgage industry, very intelligent, and outspoken. His company, Butler Mortgage, is very high-producing at about $840 million per year. Throughout today’s conversation, Ron and Scott each share their personal predictions, with the other then chiming in to give their thoughts. Though both Ron and Scott agree that digital presence and marketing will continue to be extremely important, the guys even disagree on some topics, making for a thought-provoking discussion.
Timestamped Show Notes
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[2:15] What is your first big prediction that you see coming in the mortgage industry in the next twelve months?
- There’s going to be even less mortgages than this year. The pie is shrinking.
- There are less purchases and there’s no reason to refinance a mortgage is the rate is higher.
[3:55] How are you and your company navigating the coming year to reduce the pain?
- We can all take business away from somebody else. The pie is shrinking, so we want to try to increase our slice.
[5:05] I see that in the next twenty-four months we’ll see technology that impacts processing jobs. If someone’s job is in document review, I’d be scared for them.
- I went to the Digital Mortgage Conference is the US and saw some remarkable things.
[8:09] Wouldn’t it be better for people to preserve their positions and make sure that there’s something to do? I think that we’re going to see more disruption. What are your thoughts on that?
- Three of the big five banks, in the next eighteen months, will bring out 100% digital mortgage completion. Some of them are going to use call centres, and one of them is thinking that they won’t even need one; it’ll be all AI.
- Nothing will be the same five years from now.
- Even though regulation has increased, technology will increase faster.
[10:54] The end user has become much more comfortable with the digital experience. What are your final thoughts on this point?
- I was at a Christmas party and asked people at the table what they thought of Amazon. The range was “like” to “love.” That tells you something about convenience and customer experience.
[13:16] What’s your second prediction for the mortgage industry?
- Sooner or later, the great growth of private mortgages we’ve seen in the last year-and-a-half is going to cause a problem. It’s either going to attract tremendous government attention or there is going to be a recession in 2019 or 2010 and that’s going to be a big deal with private mortgages.
- It’s going to be a problem for people who want to renew their mortgages.
[16:04] One of the things people need to focus on is non-perishable skills. Ron, you know how to do marketing. That skill is still going to be valuable even if the process become more automated.
- Everything we think about right now is marketing.
- Marketing is something that mortgage brokers have the opportunity to do better than the banks.
- The next two-to-three years is going to be all about marketing and getting yourself in front of more eyes.
[20:38] I think we’re going to see more niche marketing as a strategy. Have you seen any niche marketing that has been effective?
- Everything is available, but you’ll need a separate landing page and digital approach for each. Otherwise, you can choose just one and you must make sure you’re finding the right people.
[22:57] What’s your third prediction for our industry in the next year?
- The government will continue to be involved in our business.
- There’s a reasonable chance that by the next election we’ll see thirty-year amortization for high-ratio mortgages.
- What we need to think about as a group is “how can we convince the government to make changes that help us? Not us, the credit unions, and the banks; how can it help us, the mortgage broker?”
- Why in the world should someone who’s renewing their mortgage have to qualify under the stress test? It doesn’t make sense.
[27:22] How would we, as a group, get behind something like that? What are the practical steps?
- The first step is to put our association’s feet to the fire.
- Everyone likes the stress test because overall, lending is down.
- We need to go after one thing hard, and then move on to the next thing. We need to get the public mad about the fact that they are getting cheated.
[30:13] Have you ever run for association?
- As possibly the most hated mortgage broker in Canada, it doesn’t seem like I have much of a constituency.
[32:21] I still think that realtors are a good source of business, even in a decreasing market. My recommendation is to build your realtor network over the next twelve months. What are your thoughts on that?
- Fintech is over. The new big thing is proptech (property technology). There are a number of companies in the US whose intention is to eliminate real estate agents.
- The chance of real estate agents being the controlling force in ten years in Canada and the US is slim to none. They’re doomed in terms of having huge numbers.
- The secret to the real estate agent’s life was when they used to run back and forth in the middle of the night with offer sheets. When they began digitalizing this via email, they were bringing an end to their own existence.
- They will still exist, but they’ll be diminished. I believe the next big thing is all digital and making people look at your landing page on their phone.
[39:57] Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share?
- In 2019, there will be pain.
- We constantly see mortgage brokers wondering how banks can beat them, and I expect more of that.
- The truth is, the mortgage broker is the most relentlessly audited form of mortgage origination that exists in Canada. We are put under a microscope.
- Push the button that we can push: the marketing button.
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