It was whispered across the length and breadth of last week’s Mortgage Summit, but simply isn’t true, the founder of Pacific Mortgage Group telling MortgageBrokerNews.ca the company has no plans to acquire FirstLine or any of CIBC’s broker channel entities.

“No truth to that rumour,” Alex Haditaghi said early Friday. “Pacific Mortgage Group is not buying FirstLine and MCC.”

The denial hasn’t entirely silenced speculation that the company, parent to Mortgage Architects and lender Radius, is ready to make the acquisition. Several industry veterans continue to anticipate announcement of a sales agreement between CIBC and Pacific as early as Wednesday.

The whispered talk comes less than four months after MortgageBrokerNews.ca learned CIBC was actively preparing to shed FirstLine. It hasn’t publicly claimed its intention to do the same with MCC, and, in fact, will hold onto the mono-line’s book under any sale of FirstLine.

In February, Haditaghi was one of the first industry leaders to discuss the implications of the sale.

“Unless a deposit-taking entity with a great rating or big balance sheet buys FirstLine, it will be a massive loss,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It’s not good for our industry to lose a funding source like CIBC, with its access to deposits, covered bonds, MBS, CMB giving it the ability to fund $15 billion per year.”

The comment was an answer of sorts to brokers inclined to dismiss as insignificant the possible loss of CIBC. That’s if, in fact, it secures a buyer for FirstLine.

Many have suggested the industry would suffer few negative consequences, even if FirstLine ceased to write new mortgages. They point to the lender’s continuing slip in broker market share and pricing that has in many instances followed – and not led, as it once did – the industry.

Still, other industry insiders are now suggesting there’s plenty of reason for CIBC to hold onto its broker channel assets and re-model itself after TD Broker Services, effectively retiring the FirstLine name and automatically feeding deals to its CIBC branches.
 

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