Case Study: Alex McFadyen, The Mortgage Pug
We recently sat down with British Columbia-based mortgage advisor and founder of The MortgagePug, Alex McFadyen, to discover how his passion for the mortgage industry and investment in emerging technology are making the lending process better than ever for his borrowers. McFadyen, who believes a good experience does not end when a mortgage is funded but continues on through support, feedback and maybe even a great friendship, utilized modern technology, including point-of-sale solutions like Floify, to help double the size of his mortgage operation.
Our interview with McFadyen provides helpful insight for any mortgage professional seeking to find value from an automated mortgage operation.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT FLOIFY?
I heard about Floify through one of my mortgage industry counterparts here in Canada. He’s part of our company and was telling me about a system where his clients could upload documents and he was having a lot less trouble in terms of keeping track of where they were. It was basically a really, really, really rudimentary explanation, but more or less said that it could send updates and track documents, and he had a pretty good idea that it was helping him through the process and helping eliminate a lot of the time he spent searching for things.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CHANGE FLOIFY HAS MADE FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
From day one, it’s been a transition for the most part, but I would say the biggest change is Floify helped separate me from a lot of the other mortgage brokers and any other people in my field who were sending manual updates and manual emails.
Second, the system allowed me to eliminate a lot of the back and forth with our clients and searching for emails. I literally employed an assistant who would spend all day weeding through emails looking for documents. Now, it’s only the mornings that we go through all of our documents.
So, Floify has definitely allowed us to step our game up and look a little bit better. I mean, we’ve seen more software and things that have come out in the last little while, but the fact that Floify has continuously been updating and adapting their software to new and evolving systems has been very beneficial and very helpful for us.
BEFORE TRANSITIONING TO FLOIFY, WHAT WAS THE MOST FRUSTRATING OR CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE LOAN PROCESS FOR YOU?
I think the fact that I had to hire someone to assist me, then finding out they were spending all day grabbing documents, and all day renaming documents, and looking through them, and making sure that we’re good to go was definitely very frustrating. Hands down, the most frustrating aspect of the loan process would be all the sifting through emails and looking for all of these documents.
WHAT ABOUT FLOIFY MAKE YOU AND YOUR TEAM MORE PRODUCTIVE?
It’s time efficiency. You know, at the end of the day, spending your time specifically focused on gathering something, gathering data, in this case a document, understanding immediately whether or not this is something that works for what we’re looking to utilize it for, as opposed to just looking, searching and trying to find out where it is and having the repetition is a massive change. It’s the systems that allow us to be more productive.
I think the second thing would be the fact that we had a separate system to update our clients and partners, and so the second part of that is to be able to now have just one system where we can work our way through the process and have our clients and partners updated throughout the milestones. So it’s both time and efficiency and eliminating a lot of the redundancy that makes our team more productive.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE TIME SAVINGS FOR EACH LOAN YOU AND YOUR TEAM PROCESS SINCE USING FLOIFY?
It’s tough to put a specific time on this because I haven’t tracked time per se, but what I can tell you, in general, and I don’t know if it’s a direct correlation, our business has doubled since we started using Floify.
In fact, we used to have one person with half the business spending nearly three quarters of a day getting documents and renaming them and putting them in folders, and now with double the business, that person is spending only the morning, usually about two hours or somewhere in that ballpark, at the start of the day gathering documents. So, again, double the clients and less than half the time spent in document collection and document gathering. Now, what’s a specific amount of hours? I mean, you can add it up. Let’s say two hours or three hours a day over five days, generally, is what you would have seen in the past. Let’s say two hours times five, that’s ten hours a week. You can extrapolate that over the course of a year and it’s a massive, massive amount of savings. So, I now use that time to have my assistant follow up with existing clients, reach out to new clients, leads and opportunities, or just doing things that are more productive.
That being said, we also have the capacity now to take on a greater caseload and a greater number of clients because we’re focused on them as opposed to their documents, which no one really likes to do anyway. I know Floify has some unbelievable features when it comes to bank statements and gathering all sorts of funky stuff, which would be next-level for us, so we still have to weed through piles and piles and piles of bank statements, documents and gather a lot of other things that I believe Floify can get rid of.
Regardless, Floify is still a massive time-saver for us, even with that one feature alone. With milestones, we’re seeing CRMs and other companies offer these types of features, but I think it’s just the fact that you’ve got it all in one system, which is constantly growing, and it’s simple and easy for my team to manage as opposed to flipping back and forth from a CRM to Floify.
HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU SAY YOU SAVE EACH WEEK ON AVERAGE BY NOT ASKING YOUR BORROWERS FOR DOCUMENTATION?
We don’t actually do a lot of paper documentation per se, I mean, we do have some clients that come in and drop off paper documents and have them scanned in our office; however, I would say that’s one out of every ten clients who will do that. And if they were submitting documents electronically, maybe ten minutes per client, so not a significant time saving there. Paper to electronic is certainly more beneficial for us to get the client to upload, as opposed to having us upload and then look through everything step-by-step.
WHAT KINDS OF STAFFING CHANGES HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED SINCE USING FLOIFY TO HELP RUN YOUR MORTGAGE PROCESSES?
Our business has been growing, whether as a result of Floify or many other factors, I think Floify is definitely a piece of the puzzle. What it’s allowed us to do is hold off on hiring a document specialist. We do have someone who we actually call a “Document Specialist,” but we have, as I mentioned before, doubled our volume, and they now have the capacity to manage all those documents in the morning and have the afternoon to follow up with a lot of our clients.
I would say Floify has allowed us to leverage our first hire to focus more on the specialized part of the process, the underwriting details, as opposed to the document collection, and allowed us to hire someone to manage the documents and easily put them in that place and make sure they could still complete the other tasks that we wanted them to do, as opposed to focusing solely on documents.
So, what used to take an entire day’s worth of work was reduced down to a half a day or less. Actually, the biggest thing I would say is it has been a lot easier to implement that with the newer person and bring them on and train them on how to do this, as opposed to looking through documents and not understanding what is where or where it should be.
HAS YOUR BUSINESS SEEN AN INCREASE IN PROFITABILITY SINCE TRANSITIONING TO FLOIFY? IF SO, HOW MUCH OF AN INCREASE (IN PERCENTAGE TERMS)?
I think Floify is definitely one of the parts of a bigger picture. It has allowed us to leverage our staff more efficiently and more effectively than we had in the past. As a byproduct of this result, Floify allows us to go and focus on the activities that grow our business, so our business has doubled since the time we started using Floify and maybe it’s not a direct correlation, but I do believe just like anything else, like an athlete, a hockey player, for example, has to work on their skating, their stick handling, the puck movement, all these different things in order to become a better hockey player. It’s the same for us. We had to become more efficient with our document collection, our communication, and then our in-house processes in sales. So, it’s definitely one of the parts of the bigger picture in terms of creating that efficiency. Percentage-wise, you can call it a hundred percent increase in profitability, for sure.
SINCE TRANSITIONING TO FLOIFY AND REDUCING DIRECT CONTACT WITH BORROWERS VIA PHONE AND EMAIL, HAS THEIR LEVEL OF SATISFACTION WITH YOUR SERVICES CHANGED? IF SO, IN WHAT WAY?
I was always pretty quick and we were always very efficient with our process. What Floify has allowed us to do is streamline the process, which has been more important for me. Now it’s always the exact same email, the exact same timeline, in most circumstances, for each client. So, we always know exactly what’s going to go out to them.
From a streamlining perspective, Floify is allowing us to stay inside one system and send the exact same email with the click a button. So again, that goes back to efficiency. Floify eliminates the two minutes it takes to click over to our email program, open up our template, select templates, and select the clients to contact. So, if you want to call that two minutes per update per client, I mean, that’s a significant change for us. In terms of frequency of communication, not much of a change, but for simplicity, yes. It has allowed us to simplify, and in this day and age, when we’ve already got so much to think about, so much going on at any given moment with every single file. The less that we have to think about, in terms of what we’re actually doing, the better, especially when it comes to updating our clients.
FROM A LENDER'S PERSPECTIVE, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST VALUABLE ASPECT OF FLOIFY?
From my perspective, you can’t beat the document collection. I mean that’s the number one feature, so having documents in one place at any given time with the updates letting me know they’ve come in and they’re waiting, that’s the number one game changer for me. The milestones and additional features that come along with that are secondary. The ability to have these templates in place, customize these templates for every client, and track where any file is at any given time is phenomenal. Number three, that would probably be our real estate agents or partners being connected and being updated without us saying anything.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHY DO YOU THINK TECHNOLOGY, INCLUDING MORTGAGE POINT-OF-SALE SOLUTIONS, IS SO IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE OF THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY?
I think the mortgage industry is five to ten years behind. I think companies like Floify are going to put the power back in our hands. You know, there are a lot of people that are afraid of the online brokerages, the rate-cutters, all those types of companies, but the reality is, in my experience, even up here in Canada, with a lot of these online companies, people still want to work with someone. They still want to refer to people, they still want to have a hand involved, but they don’t want to have to wait for updates. They don’t want to wait to know what documents they need. They don’t want to wait to know where their files are at any given time, so being able to log in and see where you are in the process, what your file looks like, what documents have been uploaded, what’s outstanding, it’s literally just an expectation these days with most businesses that have any type of profile involved.
So think about it, imagine you’re buying a home, and you were about to embark on this journey and you had a list of all your homes. You see the home that you made an offer on. You can see how far along it is. You can see they submitted an offer, accepted the offer, received the offer, then submitted to the lender. All these different things. I think going forward it’s an expectation, it’s not a bonus. It’s an expectation that your business at the bare medium has the ability to communicate electronically, effectively, and allows your borrowers to take control of how they upload their documents or how they get those documents to you, and they know what’s going on at all times.
Again, I just think it’s where you have to go. It’s where things are going in the future, and it has to benefit, and it has to allow your business to grow and add more efficiency. Your team should be focused on other things, more specialized things, and you should let the technology do what it’s good at.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE LOAN OFFICERS WHO ARE ON THE FENCE ABOUT USING A POINT-OF-SALE SOLUTION LIKE FLOIFY?
I would say stop thinking about the cost of a system like Floify. Get that out of your head because it’s an investment. Look at your dollars per hour and say you’re making a hundred bucks per hour. To invest fifty dollars per month for a system that will give you back at bare minimum one hour per day of your time, you’re absolutely insane not to move forward with it. Absolutely insane. Let alone have all the external benefits of being able to update your partners. Anyone who’s not on a system like Floify is absolutely crazy, and you should probably exit the industry right now and just sign off, walk away, pick up your box, and get out, because guys like me and a lot of the other guys out there are coming for you, and in a year from now we’ll say see you later.
I know we’ll have a job for you over here.