Starting a Mortgage Brokerage in Ontario? Here’s What You Need to Know

Ontario’s real estate sales & brokerage, a $7.2 billion industry, is dynamic and diverse, presenting a myriad of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to make their mark. As a mortgage brokerage, you’ll play a vital role in connecting homebuyers with lenders, providing invaluable financial guidance, and facilitating the process of securing loans for their dream homes.

But where do you begin when starting a mortgage brokerage in Ontario? This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from licensing and regulations to setting up your operations.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Starting a mortgage brokerage requires meeting certain legal requirements and complying with industry regulations and ethical considerations.
  • Building a solid business plan, securing initial funding, and setting up operations are key steps in launching a successful mortgage brokerage.
  • Effective marketing and ongoing compliance are essential for growing and maintaining your mortgage brokerage.

1. Understanding Mortgage Brokerage

Starting a mortgage brokerage can be a lucrative business venture. However, before you begin, it is important to understand what a mortgage brokerage is and how it works.

A mortgage brokerage is a business that acts as an intermediary between borrowers and lenders. As a mortgage brokerage, you will work with clients to find the best mortgage product for their needs, and then work with lenders to secure the loan. In exchange for your services, you will receive a commission from the lender.

To start a mortgage brokerage in Ontario, you must obtain a license from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA). This license requires you to meet certain qualifications, including completing a mortgage brokerage course, passing an exam, and obtaining errors and omissions insurance.

Once you have obtained your license, you can begin working with clients. As a mortgage broker, you will be responsible for:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss their mortgage needs
  • Helping clients understand their mortgage options
  • Finding the best mortgage product for each client
  • Submitting mortgage applications to lenders
  • Negotiating mortgage terms with lenders
  • Helping clients understand the terms of their mortgage
  • Ensuring that all necessary documents are signed and submitted

2. Legal Requirements

Starting a mortgage brokerage requires compliance with various legal requirements. In this section, we will discuss the necessary legal requirements for starting a mortgage brokerage in Ontario.

Registration and Compliance with FSRA

As mentioned earlier, all mortgage brokerages in Ontario must be licensed and registered with FSRA. There are different types of licenses such as Mortgage Agent Level 1, Mortgage Agent Level 2, Mortgage Broker, Principal Broker, Mortgage Brokerage, and Mortgage Administrator.

Each category has its own requirements. The FSRA also requires mortgage brokerages to comply with various regulations, including maintaining accurate records, providing disclosure to clients, and reporting any disciplinary actions taken against the brokerage.

Educational and Experience Requirements for Mortgage Brokers

To become a licensed mortgage broker in Ontario, you must complete the necessary educational and experience requirements. This includes completing a mortgage agent course and working as a mortgage agent for at least 24 months under the supervision of a licensed mortgage brokerage. Additionally, you must pass the Mortgage Brokerage Exam and provide proof of Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.

Bonding and Insurance Obligations

Mortgage brokerages in Ontario are required to have a minimum of $25,000 in bonding and insurance coverage. This coverage provides protection for clients in case of errors or omissions by the brokerage. The FSRA also requires mortgage brokerages to have adequate E&O insurance coverage to protect against any claims made against the brokerage.

3. Building Your Business Plan

A solid business plan is required to start any venture. The plan should outline your company’s goals, target market, and financial projections. Here are some key sections to include in your business plan:

Market Research

Before you start your mortgage brokerage, you’ll need to conduct market research to understand your target audience and competitors. This research will help you identify the needs of your potential clients and the services they are looking for. It will also help you determine the best ways to reach your target market.

To conduct market research, you can use a variety of sources, including FRSA publications, industry reports, online surveys, and focus groups. You can also gather information from other mortgage brokers in your area. This research will help you create a unique selling proposition that sets you apart from your competitors.

Financial Projections

Your business plan should also include financial projections that outline your expected revenue and expenses. This will help you determine how much capital you’ll need to start your mortgage brokerage and how much revenue you’ll need to generate to break even.

To create financial projections, you’ll need to estimate your startup costs, including office space, equipment, and marketing expenses. You’ll also need to estimate your revenue based on the number of clients you expect to serve and the services you plan to offer. Be sure to include both short-term and long-term financial projections to give yourself a clear picture of your business’s financial health.


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    4. Securing Initial Funding

    Like any other venture, starting a mortgage brokerage requires initial funding. You will need to have enough money to cover the costs of setting up your business, including office space, equipment, marketing, and other expenses. Here are some ways to secure initial funding:

    Personal Savings

    One of the most common ways to fund a new business is through personal savings. If you have been saving money for a while, you may be able to use some of that money to start your mortgage brokerage. This is a good option if you want to avoid taking on debt or giving up equity in your business.

    Small Business Loans

    Another option is to apply for a small business loan. There are many lenders that offer loans to new businesses. You will need to have a solid business plan and good credit to qualify for a loan. Some lenders may also require collateral, such as your home or car, to secure the loan.


    If you don’t want to take on debt, you can look for investors to fund your business. Investors can provide funding in exchange for equity in your business. You will need to have a solid business plan and be able to convince investors that your mortgage brokerage has potential for growth.

    Government Grants

    There are also government grants available for new businesses in Ontario. These grants are designed to help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. You will need to meet certain criteria to qualify for a grant, such as being a woman, a member of a minority group, or starting a business in a certain industry.

    5. Setting Up Operations

    Once you have obtained your license and arranged funding, you need to set up your operations. This involves determining your location, staffing, partnering with lenders and financial institutions, and implementing CRM systems.


    Choosing the right location for your mortgage brokerage is essential. You need to find a location that is easily accessible to your clients and has sufficient space for your staff. You may also want to consider the cost of rent or leasing, as this can significantly impact your bottom line.


    Hiring the right staff is crucial to the success of your mortgage brokerage. You need to find experienced and knowledgeable brokers who can provide excellent customer service. You may also need to hire administrative staff to handle paperwork, scheduling, and other tasks.

    Partnering with Lenders and Financial Institutions

    Partnering with lenders and financial institutions is essential for your mortgage brokerage to succeed. You need to establish relationships with lenders and financial institutions that can provide your clients with the best mortgage rates and terms. This can involve networking, attending industry events, and building relationships with key contacts.

    Implementing CRM Systems

    Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system is crucial for your mortgage brokerage. This system can help you manage client information, track leads, and automate tasks. You may also want to consider using a mortgage-specific CRM system to streamline your processes and improve your efficiency.

    6. Marketing Your Services

    To grow your mortgage brokerage business, you need to market your services effectively. This means creating a strong brand, leveraging digital marketing channels, networking, and building referral partnerships.


    Your brand is how you differentiate yourself from other mortgage brokers. It’s what makes you unique and memorable. To create a strong brand, consider the following:

    • Develop a clear brand identity, including a logo, tagline, and brand voice.
    • Define your target audience and tailor your messaging to their needs.
    • Create a consistent visual identity across all marketing channels.
    • Communicate your unique value proposition clearly and effectively.

    Digital Marketing

    Digital marketing is essential for reaching potential clients in today’s digital age. Here are some effective digital marketing strategies for mortgage brokers:

    • Build a professional website that showcases your services, team, and testimonials.
    • Leverage social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to connect with potential clients and promote your services.
    • Invest in search engine optimization to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages.
    • Consider running paid advertising campaigns on Google Ads or social media platforms to reach a wider audience.


    Networking is a powerful way to build relationships with other professionals in the mortgage industry and potential clients. Here are some tips for effective networking:

    • Attend industry events and conferences to meet other professionals and stay up-to-date on industry trends.
    • Join local business organizations and chambers of commerce to connect with other business owners and professionals.
    • Participate in online forums and groups to connect with potential clients and other professionals in the industry.

    Building Referral Partnerships

    Referral partnerships are a valuable source of leads for mortgage brokers. Here are some tips for building referral partnerships:

    • Reach out to real estate agents, financial planners, and other professionals who work with clients who may need mortgage services.
    • Offer referral incentives to encourage other professionals to refer clients to your business.
    • Follow up with referral partners and provide excellent service to build trust and strengthen the relationship.

    By implementing these strategies, you can effectively market your mortgage brokerage services and attract new clients to your business.

    7. Compliance and Ethical Considerations

    When starting a mortgage brokerage, it is crucial to ensure that your business is compliant with the regulations set forth by FSRA. Additionally, upholding ethical standards is essential to maintain the trust of your clients and build a positive reputation in the industry.

    Ensuring Compliance with FSRA Regulations

    To ensure compliance with FSRA regulations, you must obtain a license to operate as a mortgage brokerage in Ontario. This license requires you to appoint a principal broker who will be responsible for supervising the conduct of the mortgage brokerage and its brokers and agents. The principal broker must take reasonable steps to ensure that all requirements under the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 and its regulations are met, and that contraventions are addressed promptly.

    It is also essential to keep up-to-date with any changes or updates to FSRA regulations to ensure ongoing compliance. FSRA provides guidance and resources to assist mortgage brokerages in understanding and meeting their regulatory requirements.

    Upholding Ethical Standards

    In addition to complying with FSRA regulations, upholding ethical standards is crucial in the mortgage brokerage industry. As a licensed mortgage brokerage, you are expected to act in the best interests of your clients and provide them with honest and transparent advice. This includes disclosing any conflicts of interest and ensuring that clients fully understand the terms of their mortgage agreements.

    To uphold ethical standards, it is essential to establish clear policies and procedures for your mortgage brokerage. These policies should outline your commitment to ethical behavior and provide guidelines for handling situations that may arise.

    8. Frequently Asked Questions

    To become a licensed mortgage agent in Ontario, you must be 18 years or older, a resident of Canada, and have an Ontario mailing address that can receive registered mail. Additionally, you must have a valid email address, be authorized by a mortgage brokerage to deal in mortgages, and complete an approved mortgage agent education program for a Mortgage Agent Level 1 license.

    To prepare for the Mortgage Agent Exam in Ontario, you can take an approved mortgage agent education program. These programs cover the necessary material that will be on the exam. You can also find study guides and practice exams online to help you prepare.

    To become a mortgage broker in Ontario, you must first become a licensed mortgage agent. After that, you must complete the Mortgage Broker Education Program approved by the Superintendent, FSCO, and apply for the mortgage broker license within three years of successfully completing the approved Mortgage Broker Education Program.

    You can find a list of approved mortgage broker courses in Ontario on the FSRA website. FSRA-approved private mortgages courses are provided by:

    The earning potential for a mortgage broker in Ontario can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and the number of clients. However, according to Indeed, the average salary for a mortgage broker in Ontario is $87,000 per year.

    Yes, you can become an independent mortgage broker in Ontario. However, you must still meet the requirements to become a licensed mortgage agent and complete the necessary education programs. Once you have your license, you can work independently or join a mortgage brokerage.

    9. Resources for Mortgage Brokers in Ontario


    Industry Resources

    Other Resources

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