The Canadian mortgage industry was shaken yesterday when Ottawa-based realtor Sue Hameed posted an open letter to the Canadian mortgage industry deciphering the alleged aggressive criminal treatment she and her team of agents received from her former employer, Mortgage Alliance, after moving to brands and align with the competing network Mortgage Architects on January 4th.
« This type of movement from one network to another is not uncommon and is common in the industry for a variety of reasons, » Hameed wrote in a public Facebook post. “What is infrequent and not common is the withholding of commissions. We find ourselves in an unfortunate situation with Mortgage Alliance and M3 withholding commissions from hardworking agents and brokers who looked after their clients and fulfilled their obligations by funding those deals.
« The actions of the Mortgage Alliance and [parent company] M3 are a shame and set a terrible precedent for this industry, » she continued.
With commissions earned by mortgage brokers not owed like brokers, Hameed expressed concern that from December and early January, the company’s commissions from her team members could be used by the company for other purposes, such as covering its operating expenses.
« M3, » she wrote, « you are holding back money that is not yours. »
A Quebec-based broker who works for M3’s own Multi-Prets brand has expressed doubts about claims for unpaid commissions.
« M3 is way too big and healthy to withhold commissions for no reason, » the broker told Mortgage Broker News via email. « However, if that broker left the group to switch Banner, then, logically, payroll would keep commissions until all work-related and recurring costs that were deducted from our commissions (e.g. Equifax) were updated are. It gets even more complex when that person is a team leader or a team. «
However, according to Hameed, unpaid commissions are only one aspect of the Mortgage Alliance’s alleged attack. She and her teammates have also been charged with “MAC reputational damage due to early termination / abandonment” on which the company claims the $ 100,000 award. Everyone.
« Every single one of our agents received inquiry letters, including agents who had never financed a deal, » said Hameed over the phone. “They were brand new. They literally just got their licenses in October or November. We’re talking about 30 agents, over $ 3 million in inquiries. «
When the Hameed team ended their relationship with the Mortgage Alliance before a five-year commitment had expired, the company claimed their actions were justified on contractual grounds. But as Hameed explained, and as Mortgage Alliance repeatedly told her, the terms of the contract she signed as a team leader, and therefore the penalties that contract now triggers, do not apply to individual agents.
« This communication is not only oral but also written from Mortgage Alliance, » said Hameed. « They’re trying to keep [agents] up to the same standard as the team leader, which to my knowledge has never been the case with the Mortgage Alliance in the past. » I think even a lot of people within the Mortgage Alliance are confused. «
Misery loves company & # xD;
Hameed’s team is not alone in their anger and adversity. The 6ix Mortgage Group, which also left the Mortgage Alliance for Mortgage Architects in the first week of January, faces a similar situation: it is alleged that each of the team’s 22 agents were withheld in commissions and claims totaling $ 100,000 .
« We’re exactly in the same boat, » a member of the 6ix Mortgage Group, who wanted to remain anonymous, told MBN. “We were with Mortgage Alliance for over three years. Contracts were signed, but none of the subagents were contractually involved in anything. «
The source found the timing of the Mortgage Alliance’s approach – in the midst of an unprecedented economic and health crisis – outrageous.
“During this difficult time, companies and organizations are making every effort to help their employees and to provide them with funds. We have single parents on our team. We have an agent whose husband owns a restaurant and whose restaurant is closed – and the husband was diagnosed with cancer. And on top of that, all of their money is locked up, ”said the 6ix source.
The source added that it had received written communications from the Mortgage Alliance leadership – Vice President of Business Development MaryAnn Nasrallah, Senior Vice President of Business Development Joe Pinheiro – clarifying that the commitments made by team leaders do not apply to a team’s subagents.
“Either [Mortgage Alliance] has misled us or these contracts were signed in bad faith. Which one is it? ”The source said.
In addition, the source accused the Mortgage Alliance of meddling in over $ 40 million in upcoming deals.
« Not only are they not paying us, they are no longer helping us run and comply with these deals, » the source said. « They blocked our access to [M3’s proprietary filing platform] Boss. So if I try to fund a deal with Scotiabank or TD Bank, for example, I can’t even meet and close that deal. » They don’t even help with that. It’s a big mess. «
A representative from the 6ix Mortgage Group called Mortgage Alliance President Peter Aceto Friday asking him to pay out the commissions owed and drop the $ 100,000 inquiries. The source relayed Aceto’s response, which reportedly was « Sorry, it is with the lawyers ».
Industry Response & # xD;
The alleged actions of the Mortgage Alliance have disgusted some of the biggest players in the industry.
« Never in our industry has a company said, ‘I will receive all of your commissions from all agents licensed with you, » Gary Mauris, CEO of the DLC Group of Companies, told MBN. « Source agent money is completely sidelined. I think what Mortgage Alliance is doing is embarrassing. It’s despicable. «
Mauris believes that any legitimate contractual disputes between Mortgage Alliance and the teams involved should be negotiated by the company and its team leaders to avoid unnecessary collateral damage. Agents shouldn’t get caught in the crossfire, where they’ll almost certainly be shredded.
« Withholding commissions is immoral and incomprehensible, » said Mauris. « These are single mothers and people who have just tried to wish their families a good Christmas and have worked hard to close these deals. »
Dustan Woodhouse, president of Mortgage Architects, described the Mortgage Alliance’s request for $ 100,000 reputational damage from each agent, including some who have not yet closed their first deal, as « arbitrary, » « petty, » « malicious. » « and » egregious « .
« No judge will ever rule against these agents, » said Woodhouse. « But you have a company that is now run by a lawyer, and that’s the system. » See you in court. «
Woodhouse found the Mortgage Alliance’s alleged litigation not only cold and impersonal, but utterly unnecessary.
“Never in my life have I picked up a phone and told a lawyer to write a letter. There is nothing that you cannot talk your way through, ”he said. “Why do we have to hire $ 250 an hour to speak for ourselves? I think it sucks to hide behind the line: « We’ll settle it in court. »
Mauris fears agents, brokers, lenders and even executives are feeling too intimidated to speak out because of M3’s gigantic presence in the industry.