Need to know. The Mortgage Group updated its Employee Policies and Procedures document earlier this year

Monday, November 9th, 2020

Is your brokerage’s code of conduct still relevant in 2020?

Clayton Jarvis
Mortgage Broker News

It’s hard to get through a day in the mortgage world without coming across certain concepts – innovation, adaptation, flexibility – four or five hundred times. It’s an industry that, despite its reputation for being old-fashioned, welcomes change as the impetus for learning, as an opportunity to improve.

Some changes – regulatory updates, market fluctuations, the odd global pandemic – require immediate action on the part of brokers and lenders if they wish to stay in business. Others, though, are far less tangible, their effects imaginable but hard to quantify.

One such change has rocked much of mainstream society in 2020: the growing realization that bias – gender, racial, or other – is a pervasive, destructive problem that must be eradicated if a country, and its people, are to meet their full potential. This particular shift in philosophy may have nothing to do with the selection of mortgage products, but it certainly speaks to a variety of consumer demand.

Broker demand, too. Mortgage professionals, like anybody else, want to work in environments where they feel respected and safe. That’s why Veronica Love, senior vice president of corporate development at TMG The Mortgage Group, says the company updated its Employee Policies and Procedures document earlier this year.

“We already had a great policy and procedures guide,” Love says, “but in January, when diversity became even more of a concern and we realized that there is still a lot of work to be done in Canada, we reviewed and updated it.”

In addition to signing off on TMG’s guidelines around ethical mortgage brokering and interactions with consumers, employees must also agree to meet the company’s standards when it comes to accepting their co-workers and treating them with respect.

“I want to ensure that our core values remain very much intact with no place for racism, sexism, or harassment at TMG,” company CEO Mark Kerzner said in a recent statement to the company’s employees.  

While Love can’t speak for other brokerages’ codes of conduct, she thinks it unlikely that all of them have been updated to reflect new priorities like inclusion and diversity.

“I would imagine that if you’re a brokerage that’s been operating for thirty years like we have, that you are still using pretty archaic policies and procedures,” she says, suggesting that broker owners review and update their codes of conduct each year to “make it more inclusive for everybody.”

Love says TMG’s new policy document refers to “making employees feel safe and empowered” and includes language that states there is no room for behaviour that demonstrates racial or gender bias.

“We made that statement very clear. We’ve actually written it down and put it into both our employee handbook and our policies and procedures,” Love says. Both new hires and long-time TMG employees have been asked to review and acknowledge the current document.

The results of having a code of conduct that explicitly encourages employees to be more respectful have so far been positive. The company’s monthly town hall meetings have become a platform for progressive, respectful discussions where TMG-ers feel comfortable expressing themselves. Love says these open forums have become an “an amazing way to stay more engaged with the agents and brokers of TMG.”

Where there are rules, there must also be consequences. Love says employees that transgress the new guidelines are dealt with swiftly. Those who make their colleagues feel uncomfortable or disrespected at company events, for example, are pulled aside and spoken to by management, sent home, and put on probation.

“If you set the standard, then I believe people think twice before disrespecting fellow colleagues,” Love says.

Obviously, TMG is not the only brokerage where inclusion and acceptance have become priorities where agent behaviour is concerned. Love gives kudos to other brokerages and to lenders who she knows have taken strong stances for respectful behaviour at their events.

Equitable Bank vice president Paul von Martels says EB’s code of conduct is “a direct reflection” of the company’s values and a means of holding its employees accountable to one another.


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