We all know the perfect mortgage broker technology stack doesn’t exist. But as Canadian financial technology (fintech) continues to evolve by leaps and bounds, if you’re like the majority of mortgage brokers, you’re looking for a tech stack that will let you smoothly and efficiently operate and grow your business.
With the myriad of origination, underwriting, submission and client relationship management (CRM) platforms available today, however, it’s truly challenging to select and commit to a single long-term solution. To make things even more complicated, the number of features available—not to mention needed—is expanding at lightning speed. No mortgage broker today can operate without automatic document collection, bank statement access, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) pulls and more. All of these materials are necessary to ensure the best possible client experience and enable mortgage brokers to compete with the unlimited resources available to banks.
Most mortgage brokers operate on either a referral-based or paid advertising-based lead generation model. If your operation runs purely based on your past file organic growth, you’ve likely been in the business so long you may be retired by the time the contents of this article affect you, although it’s still smart to ensure your book of business retains value if you hope to divest of it someday. Here’s a closer look at some of the technology that can make a difference in the efficiency and success of your business.
It’s inarguable that the CRM system or database is the foundation of any modern business. Regardless of what stage your operation is in, you need to have one, and you need to use it efficiently if you want to ensure the long-term viability and value of your business.
For Canadian mortgage brokers, options include mortgage origination platforms with integrated CRM features, such as Filogix Expert Pro (formerly Doorr), DLC Newton Velocity, Scarlett DOS (also known as CENTUM’s Piper) or MortgageBOSS (M3). Alternatively, you can integrate a CRM of your choice, such as Pipedrive, Zoho (BluMortgage), Salesforce (Jungo) or numerous others. Last but not least, there’s the classic spreadsheet with the automation power of Google Sheets or Smartsheet.
For application intake, the options include a brokerage’s proprietary online (or paper form!?), Lendesk’s Finmo or the built-in application form in any of the above-mentioned mortgage origination platforms. Although there are others, based on conversations with fellow brokers, they aren’t used nearly as widely.
In fact, an informal recent survey and discovered more than 50 percent of files are still underwritten in Filogix Expert—and that’s the legacy version, not even Pro! The guess is that this simply comes down to the fact that no one likes change, and the direct-to-lender submission features in the competing platforms are still fairly new. Tech-savvy brokers argue that Lendesk’s Finmo leads in the area of borrower experience.
What else do you need?
The perfect mortgage broker tech stack doesn’t end there—it relies on many of the same additional puzzle pieces as countless other types of businesses require, starting with email, contact, calendar and file storage systems.
In most cases, you can choose the Google Workspace, Microsoft Office 365 or Zoho Mail/Workplace platforms. All of these offer industry-standard SOC 2 data security compliance, although not necessarily the Canadian file servers some provincial governing bodies require.
Depending on the CRM, you’ll also have an email drip and/or marketing campaign app, such as Intuit’s Mailchimp or Zoho Campaigns, and potentially an e-sign app such as DocuSign, HelloSign, Adobe Sign or DocHub, among others.
Finally, if you’re really keen, you may even add a call scheduling app like Calendly or TidyCal, along with OpenPhone for SMS automation and Zapier zaps to integrate your stack together.
It’s also important to remember that third-party options are available for other aspects of your operation. Lender Spotlight for products, rates, guidelines, and contacts. Roar Solutions and Deploy.Online design high-quality mortgage broker websites, and Bendigi Technologies has developed a mortgage app that’s risen to the top of the Canadian mortgage industry. When outstanding solutions already exist, you shouldn’t feel any pressure to build your own in-house.
Finding the perfect stack
So, how do you go about choosing the perfect Canadian mortgage broker technology stack, since we’ve already established that it doesn’t really exist?
For starters, you have to keep in mind that the stack will only output what you input—in other words, regardless of the various applications’ sales pitches and marketing tags, whether any given app works for you depends largely on how you use it. It’s a lot like clothing—not the brand, but how you wear it—or a car—not the model, but how you drive it. (Although you can’t discount HP and a turbocharger!)
Most importantly, it’s critical that your mortgage brokerage or network doesn’t push any single solution. Fintech isn’t going through an evolution, but a revolution—there is absolutely no way any one company or network will be able to keep up with (much less stay ahead of) modular best-in-class solutions. No software can do everything well, especially not if it’s free. The real magic happens when you select the tools that are best for you, your team and your business, knowing that your network will support your choices.