|07/29/2022||For the record on unlicensed brokers|
|11/12/2021||Brokers still relevant to mortgage lending|
|10/05/2021||IntroLend brings LOS to mortgage brokers|
|09/12/2021||Brokers say "yes" to commissions in crypto|
|03/24/2021||Vid: Can new brokers make $1M+ a year?|
What is a CRM?
What Do Points on a Deal Mean?
What is a True-up?
Where Can I Learn More About Small Business Lending?
For Mike Brooks, CEO of Best Connect Capital, the deal making never stops. A former boxing trainer turned funder said that there are no days off. “I’m always funding, I am always, always funding,” he said.
Recently, Brooks has taken an interest in text message marketing. “I’ve had trouble finding somebody in text marketing,” he said. I was going on the internet and using word of mouth, and I wasn’t really able to connect with anybody. I hooked up with this company [in Miami], and it worked out really well. I already funded a couple of deals.”
Around the industry, brokers and funders have found their footing after Covid. A recent mass gathering in Miami definitely helped push things along. “The second I got off the plane in Miami this year, I saw an old friend, a business associate,” said Brooks. “That was a great connect right there.”
Nicholas Saccone, Senior Funding Advisor at Proto Financial had a similar experience. “Having the opportunity to meet up with some of our partners face-to-face [is] a really cool experience,” said Saccone. “Sometimes it is hard to find time to build relationships with all of our schedules. [Through networking] I’m able to get different perspectives on where the industry is headed and where we are now.”
“Small business lending is on the up and up,” said Frankie DiAntonio, CEO of Lexington Capital, who also ventured down to Miami with his team from Long Island. “With inflation going up, we’re finding that small businesses are outsourcing their need of funding outside the government, and there are companies like us that can come in and take care of them.”
DiAntonio spoke about how important it is to sell legitimacy to both his lenders and staff. “We’re the new kids on the block, we’re a newer company,” he said. Despite the head start his competitors may have, DiAntonio said that old school sales mentalities combined with modern marketing strategies have recently helped his company consistently fund deals and build a book of business.
“We bring in a lot of Google click ads which brings us a lot of leads, but obviously our guys just make phone calls throughout the day, as much as humanly possible,” DiAntonio said. “My guys know what they’re doing, they know the industry, they’re really good on the phones, and they know how to take care of customers.”
RJ Rochelle, Juan Carlos Marcano, Thomas Long, and Angela Thompson (above in order), all participated in a week long sales training last November that was captured on camera. They competed for a grand prize that was won in the season finale that aired just recently on March 3rd. Equipping The Dream is the defining b2b sales reality show. Now you can meet the brokers and the trainers that helped them in person!
Only a limited number of tickets to deBanked CONNECT Miami are left and sponsorships have already sold out. This will be deBanked’s 4th event in Miami since 2018.
All six episodes of Equipping the Dream are available on deBanked TV FREE.
“I don’t think the industry would really be the same if we didn’t have brokers anymore.”
Dave Stewart, who was recently promoted to Sales and Partnerships Manager at Idea Financial, spoke to deBanked about the role brokers will play in the future of business financing. With so many different kinds of innovation being offered in the financial world through technology, Stewart shared his thoughts on how brokers, funders, and merchants can get the most out of a technology-infused lending environment.
“We think about the whole fintech thing, everything getting technology based, and that there’s a missed opportunity for the human touch,” said Stewart, when asked how technology will influence the way merchants apply for capital. “There’s a lot of clients out there that can go online and fill out an application, but they don’t understand the in’s and out’s.”
“When [the merchant] doesn’t understand how everything actually works, they usually fall back and seek a broker at some point in time.”
Stewart highlighted how from the lender’s perspective, the value of brokers is in being the face to the experience of purchasing a financial product. He described it as someone who can guide the merchant to the right type of financing and then through that specific funding approval process.
“I think there is value in the experience,” said Stewart. “I don’t go to a restaurant to cook my own meal. I go to a restaurant because the service is going to be great, the food is going to be great, and hopefully I have a great experience, and I think that’s a great example of what the broker does.”
Despite believing that the broker’s role in financing is invincible to fintech’s innovation in lending, Stewart didn’t dismiss the value of understanding and leveraging different types of technology in order to be competitive.
“There’s an art to being a good broker,” said Stewart. “There are a lot of people who are not tech savvy and are just monster brokers or monster sales people, but they definitely need or rely on somebody else to explain the technical aspects.”
At Money 20/20 last month, deBanked spoke with Jason Harris, CEO of Button Finance, about his company’s initiative to give access to home equity loans to borrowers that would have never been able to do so. Through this conversation, Harris also shared his thoughts on how brokers across the finance world are still relevant, and the ones who are embracing tech are the ones who are closing deals.
Button Finance is a fintech company that brings together venture and hedge fund capital with borrowers seeking lines of home equity credit. After moving into second-lien mortgages, Button Finance is looking to open up a practice which according to Harris, is mostly an exclusive borrowing process for high net worth clients who borrow from large institutions.
“The reason we like this product is because if you’re an individual, you have to go somewhere like LendingClub or to your credit card to borrow money. And those are interest rates at 20%, as high as 30%, even if you have great credit, it can be over 10%. So we want to give people a much lower cost for access to credit.”
Harris also has a desire to make the process as quick and efficient as technology allows. He is embracing not only expanding the access to capital, but making the process to obtain it simple.
“We want to make it so you can borrow money sitting on the toilet on your phone,” Harris said.
When speaking about brokers in his industry, Harris touched on how the ones who are innovating are taking advantage of such a unique time, where the amount individuals innovating are relatively low, and the opportunities given by the innovation have never been higher.
While some companies offer a completely broker-less buying process, Harris thinks the role of a broker is necessary for a borrower of any loan to be comfortable and informed during the borrowing process.
“Now with regards to the need for brokers, this is something that now happens very often,” said Harris. “When people make large purchases, they like the comfort of speaking to someone and having someone advise them. Sometimes a broker can offer you some educational knowledge. We’re in the finance world; if you’re not a finance person at all, before you borrow $500,000, you might want someone advising you along the way.”
“Different brokers have different ways of brokering,” said Harris. “Some brokers spend money and build out great technology platforms themselves, and they’re able to scale and do ten times as many mortgages as a broker who is doing high touch [business]. Other brokers will use relationship based lending and have high touch [business]. I think it’s definitely going more towards the technology route.”
While embracing the value tech has, Harris realizes that with all this technology comes a responsibility to educate borrowers on all the different processes that are changing when it comes to data transfer, verification, and approval processes. “Like every other tech company, we want to try to bring technology to this as much as possible. We want to be able to advise a borrower on the best possible product just using technology.”
While speaking specifically about the innovation the financial world is experiencing, Harris thinks that a drastic change to the finance world will be take place over a long period of time.
“Like everything, things move slowly,” said Harris. “Don’t think this will happen overnight.”
Vergent, a loan management software, is creating a space where brokers and lenders alike can manage all aspects of a deal in one place. Based in Ridgefield, Mississippi, Vergent is trying to innovate the industry with brokers in mind, pairing the small town values of interpersonal engagement and getting to know your customer with the big city ideas of fintech and automation.
“Really what we provide is the technology infrastructure for lenders to reach their end user,” said Bradley Tompkins, Chief Information Officer at Vergent. “Whether that be a small business looking for a loan, we facilitate that acquisition, the origination of that loan, and the servicing of that loan. That could mean recurring payment setups, based upon the lender’s requirements, communication with that customer via email, text, however that is facilitated, and all the different payment options.”
Tompkins talked about how his software is one of the few that brokers in his area are already utilizing to start making deals smoother. With access to all aspects of the deal, Vergent provides an all-in-one suite of options that can turn the process of analyzing a deal or checking out a deal post-funding into a couple of clicks.
“We actually have brokers who use our software to accept applications, originate loans, and then we can either transfer that to a separate portfolio that the lender then manages for servicing, or sometimes we have brokers that service the loans themselves,” Tompkins said. “So there are really a lot of options on how to set that up in the platform, so the lender can have a separate site where they accept applications from multiple brokers, or really any combination of those things.”
The value of a direct relationship with the customer is top-tier according to Tompkins, as he spoke about the next great innovations in fintech not being how to weed the human interaction out, but finding its role that will find the balance between human touch and AI power. “Once you know your customer, you can give them the option to pay you back in the easiest way possible. Understanding how they get paid, their pay cycles, when they have money and being flexible to accept that money when they have it, and giving them those repayment options is the next great innovation.”
When talking about the ability to market his product to a wide audience, Tompkins acknowledged the difficulty due to the size of the industry itself, but touched on the value of networking events like Money 20/20, where Tompkins was pitching Vergent to an international audience.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of lenders we’ve seen, and the amount of opportunities that have come our way from [Money 20/20]. We came here pretty open minded, maybe talk to some payment processors and other vendors that may be able to integrate to us and kind of help expand our network, but really it’s just getting our name out, seeing a little bit of a different segment than what we normally see, and looking at other market opportunities.”
One month after Velocity Capital Group began offering broker commissions in crypto, CEO Jay Avigdor says it is taking off. It’s completely optional of course, but already seven of VCG’s ISOs have opted to get paid that way.
“The feedback has been fantastic!” Avigdor says.
In a previous interview with deBanked, Avigdor said that the initiative wasn’t about speculating on cryptocurrencies but instead about taking advantage of the transaction speed. Crypto can change hands faster than an ACH or a wire, for example, and VCG will send funds via a stablecoin so that there is no volatile exchange rate risk.
“Our goal since day 1 of VCG, was to give ISOs and merchants the ability to access capital as fast as possible,” Avigdor said. “With VCG’s proprietary technology, we have been able to change that mindset from ‘as fast as possible’ to ‘the FASTEST possible.’”
One broker attested on facebook that he received his commission from VCG within 5 minutes from the moment the deal funded via the DAI stablecoin.
Even a merchant requested that they be funded with crypto, according to Avigdor, which they accommodated. Payments back to VCG are still done via ACH debit, however.
The market cap of the cryptocurrency industry is currently at more than $2 trillion.
United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) and Rocket Mortgage are still going at it, this week heating up to a new boiling point.
UWM announced on Facebook Live Thursday that it would not partner with brokers who work with Rocket Mortgage or Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. CEO Mat Ishbia gave brokers until March 15th to sign a loyalty document to pledge their allegiance to the UWM team.
“If you work with them, can’t work with UWM anymore, effective immediately,” Ishbia said. “I can’t stop you, but I’m not going to help you, help the people that are hurting the broker channel, and that’s what’s going on right now.”
After competing Superbowl ads, it looked like the competitors were peacefully building broker networks, but now brokers have to pick a side. Rocket Pro TPO VP Austin Niemiec told the Housing Wire that UWM is attempting to manipulate the broker market.
“What UWM is attempting to do is really manipulate the market and have brokers swear allegiance to one company and literally give them financial penalties if they don’t listen to them,” Niemic said. “That harms their ability to compete, and it harms the consumer. Make no mistake about it, this was a move to benefit one company and one company alone, UWM.”
The feud comes after the stock price of Rocket Companies, Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, spiked in price. Founder Dan Gilbert briefly placed number 16 in Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.
A year ago, millions watched as Rocket Mortgage and United Wholesale Mortage (UWM) went head-to-head with competing multi-million-dollar ads. This year, they will both return, but it looks like they might play nice after a grueling pandemic.
Last year, Rocket appeared for their third consecutive Super Bowl, but then in an upset came the #BrokersAreBetter ad campaign. UMW called out their biggest competitor: “Playing with rockets is great when you’re a kid, but when it’s time to get a mortgage, you quickly realize a rocket is complicated and expensive,” and promoted FindAMortgageBroker.com.
It was a jab that earned millions of tweets, but this year Rocket has a chance to reply, and “double down” with two ads, this time highlighting local brokers as well. Rocket Companies today launched a national mortgage broker directory on its website.
“The directory not only includes the 43,000 individual loan officers who work with us but every mortgage broker in the country,” said Austin Niemiec, the executive vice president of Rocket Pro TP, in a statement. “This new resource is not about us; it’s about giving consumers more choice and assuring they know how an independent loan officer in their community can help them.”
UWM is also running an ad showing an imaginary tinder-swiping house hunting app, again featuring the FindAMortgageBroker.com directory.
“We believe we’re the one genuine partner of mortgage brokers nationwide,” said Sarah DeCiantis, chief marketing officer of UWM, in a statement. “We thought this ad would not only be relatable and entertaining given the pandemic’s acceleration of online dating but also educate consumers that brokers are their number one resource for finding a mortgage that fits their financial situation.”
Both firms are deciding to buy ads while other major brands are pulling out; For example, Budweiser’s decision to put ad money toward covid vaccine distribution. These brands will be saving money, as a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl runs for an estimated $5.5 million, the AP reports.
Next year’s Super Bowl 56, will be played in SoFi Stadium.
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