A few months ago I sat down and started reviewing my mortgage which is due soon. I researched mortgage rates, mortgage options, and vacations1. I checked out the major banks, sat down with my personal financial advisor (PFA), and also contacted Rob Campbell2. Rob deals in mortgages, and as such I needed to talk to him.
After a little bit of research, I had a list of options including, for example, 3.20% for 4 years, 3.99% for 7 years, or 5.45% for 10 years. Rob offered similar rates to the banks, but with longer terms (for example, a 3.99% fixed rate for 10 years). I considered the options, and decided to go with a fixed rate longer term mortgage. My main reason: interest rates are at historical lows, and I firmly believe they’ve only got one way to go, and that is up. Capitalizing on a low rate – like 3.99% – for a long period made sense to me.
However, I didn’t really want to go through the process of moving my mortgage from my current bank if I could avoid it. I decided to present Rob’s options to my current lender thinking they might match the rates and I could remain where I was.
The sad reality – the bank ended up treating me like a number. I was relegated to a piece of paper on a desk. In this case, I think that the term personal financial advisor was a bit of a joke since there ended up being nothing personal about our mortgage interaction.
Let me explain. After sending my PFA a set of competing offers, I was asked for more details on the new lender even though the relevant information had already been provided. I was essentially asked to research the other lender for the bank. Personally, I felt that the bank had a responsibility to do this themselves. Finally, I was told that the 3.99% option that I had listed was most likely a 7 year term and not a 10 year term.
To be honest, if the bank knew me, they’d know that I wouldn’t make a mistake like that – I am after all, a number-loving kind of guy and a bit of an academic. Generally that means I’m rather anal about details when it comes to important things – especially number things. Despite having my profession listed on their summary sheet, my PFA forgot that I was a person and not a mortgage account number.
On the other side of this mortgage decision was Rob. He kept me apprised of rates, and he answered all of my questions in a timely manner. He did not pressure me. He simply gave me the information that I needed when I needed it. Beyond that, he knew my background. He understood that I am a numbers guy, and that I would likely have spreadsheets full of data. He knew he didn’t have to explain certain financial statistics to me, but still went over everything knowing that I would ask if I were confused or needed clarification. He knew that I would have done my research, and he was prepared to fill in any gaps that I might have had.
As a result my mortgage decision was an easy one – the bank lost my business. And truth be told the bank would have lost my business even if they came in with a rate that matched Rob. The reason was simple, Rob took the time to work with me – on a personal level. By doing so, I know that he was making sure to find the best option for me. He was able to weed out all of the things that didn’t matter, and present to me what I needed to see. And that type of service warrants my attention. More than that, it deserves my business.
Since having made my decision, the bank has clearly been notified that I’m moving my mortgage elsewhere. Today I received another email from my PFA. If I hadn’t already made the move away from my bank, this would have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The email asked first if I had sold my house.
Are you effing kidding me? Selling my house was NEVER on the table.
I replied, indicating that I had gone with another lender. The subsequent email read, and I quote:
“Is this not a rate we could try to match for you? We try our best to be competitive.”
My head almost exploded.
What the frick? Clearly you don’t try to be competitive. If you did, you would have told me this ages ago – you know, back when you told me that a 10 year 3.99% rate was likely a 7 year 3.99% rate.
Epic fail bank. Epic fail indeed.
Anyway, the decision has been made and all of the paperwork is currently being processed. For those of you that are up for renewal, I highly recommend that you take the time to explore all of your options. I also recommend that you talk to Rob. He’s a great guy, he’ll work for you and with you, and he’ll make sure that he knows what you want, because he’ll take the time to get to know you.
And if that doesn’t convince you, his smile certainly will.
1 Knowing that I wanted to maintain my lifestyle, I knew that I should consider the things that I like to do. And as we all know, those things include running and travel. Okay, I also like pie and scotch, but to be honest, all of these are really minor expenses in comparison to travel. Keeping an eye on what I might want to spend in the coming years travel-wise, and balancing that against what I could do with my mortgage allowed me to set up some realistic scenarios.
- Mortgage Rates Plunge, But Who Should Refinance? (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Mortgage Terminology: A Simple Guide (stevengiffin.wordpress.com)
- Making Home Affordable Explained | MortgageRefinanceRates.org (mortgagerefinancerates.org)
- Competition driving down mortgage rates (simplelandlordsinsurance.com)
- BMO Financial Tip of the Week: Review All Your Mortgage Refinancing Options (sys-con.com)