Most mortgage agents have likely noticed Merix Financial’s enhanced broker portal, Explore 2.0, for deal tracking that was launched on Thursday November 25. CMP had the chance to demo it in person, and speak with Andrew Kuyper, Merix director of marketing and operations, and Salim Naran, senior vice-president of information technology, about plans to further enhance the system in 2011.“
We see the new portal as step one in bridging some gaps from the original Explore,” said Naran. “We’ve built an application that talks to a database in real time and everything is integrated so there’s two-way communication between the broker and the underwriter.”
In the previous version that was in operation since 2006, Merix found the two biggest concerns brokers had were they couldn’t be certain of their deal status and they were never sure whether documents and messages were viewed by the underwriters. Now brokers can upload the supporting files directly to the client deal and conversely, the underwriter can view the documents immediately. The new system also sends an automatic email notification when a deal is approved or declined or changes its conditions.
“It saves a lot of time, and a lot of back and forth,” said Kuyper. “We eventually want to offer brokers the ability to customize what email notifications they get and how those emails are even organized.” For example, a top originator noted that in the email notification subject line, only the deal number is shown. He wanted to see the customer’s name as well.
“It’s a small change but because we have it all on one platform now that we control, we can respond to the feedback and make changes more quickly,” added Kuyper.
Over the next 12 months, the company will add extra features to create an online community centre for mortgage agents that will include weather, news, instant communication, social media, and essentially encompass daily business in one place. “This system gives us the flexibility to provide different things for different brokers to meet their needs and personal tastes,” said Kuyper. “Currently, it’s still a deal-tracking system but the potential for customization is huge.”
Naran added though more cutting edge technology exists in other professional fields, Merix wants to be the first to provide the digital revolution for the mortgage industry. At the same time, Merix President and CEO Boris Bozic stresses the new portal’s user friendliness.
“We aren’t expecting brokers to be techno geeks,” said Bozic. “We’re maintaining simplicity because we know great technology doesn’t matter if it’s too difficult to use.”
-Heather Li, CMP Staff Writer