One extensive network example is Bank of America's Alliance Program. In joining with real estate brokerages, Bank of America provides:
- A mortgage consultant in the broker's offices
- Closing cost credits to the consumer
- Promotional reimbursement to broker for advertising B of A services
- Leads to the broker from Bank of America's website
- Consumer access to the B of A mortgage site to manage their accounts
The question that presents itself is the cooperation in this way that tends to move the consumer to the single mortgage loan product. Yes, it is more convenient, but is it going to be the best deal for any particular consumer?
With the Internet changing the way that we do business in so many ways, some real estate professionals are moving toward a "consultant" approach to offering their services to clients. I like this approach, but it requires a concentrated effort to provide customized advice and services to your customer.
If your brokerage office has an arrangement with a major lender in their offices, can you be the consultant offering the very best advice for your customer? Even those taking the consulting approach do not always offer a great deal of help in the selection of a mortgage broker. They may just hand a list to the client, advising them to call for the best deal.
If you are moving toward providing value as a consultant with resources to guide and help your customer through the process, can you do that with an in house mortgage company? Even if you truly believe this company is the best out there right now, will they be the best next year, or even next month? Is there a better choice for this particular client? Will your office allow you to recommend it?
This question as it relates to mortgages is really just a small part of the larger problem for today's real estate professional. How can we continue to provide value, increase that value, and retain compensation structures that will allow us to stay in business? I like the consulting approach, and I don't see how I can do it well with an in house mortgage relationship, no matter how convenient for my customer.