LLL recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the CEO and co-founder of paymints.io, Jason Doshi. Jason brings a wealth of knowledge about the mortgage industry and how technology empowers client service. We were eager to pick his brain and hear about his experiences!
People joke that my first word was “mortgage”. This was a family business for me. I got involved myself a decade ago at a small broker shop in New Jersey. I wanted to put my own spin on things and focus on client service. After the financial crisis, I found homebuyers didn’t understand the mortgages they were signing up for, so I wanted to help. I was able to grow a company over the last 11 years into one of the largest independently owned mortgage brokers in the nation.
My brother, the other co-founder of paymints.io, ran a title agency for about two decades. This brought a brotherly bond. We use our obsession and our passion to drive it forward. And we keep it healthy. Burnout is a big issue.
There’s a lot of lip service in the industry paid to borrower experience. How do you for lack of a better term monetize that client service? What is the ROI of client service?
When I was running brokerage, it was 100% referral based. Lead buy is a big part of origination. To grow a business to where we were doing a billion dollars in loan value is a big deal.
Our goal was to give the client all the information and let them know what to expect. You need to go out of your way to do that, because the industry is so fragmented. There are lots of people involved in the process.
It’s highly emotional, it’s highly fragmented, and it’s a high dollar value, which is a recipe for miscommunication. We made it so the mortgage company assumed the role of project manager. Communication is key.
What lead you out of the mortgage side of things and how did the values of client service lead to paymints.io?
In 2018–2019 my brother and I were looking for ways to double down on client service in our industry. Where are the touch points? Where are the handoffs? We dissected the entire transaction and decided to focus on one of the larger pain points: the movement of money. Sending and receiving paper checks creates a ton of issues.
Real estate wire fraud is a huge issue. One in three real estate transactions have attempted wire fraud. And it’s getting more complex. As a first-time homebuyer, you trust the process. That’s all you can do. But from a hacker’s perspective that is the best place to attack.
It’s one thing for, say, Bank of America to have security. But what about the title agent? The appraiser?
We eliminate the use of paper checks. This allows homebuyers to transfer funds directly from their checking account to the title agent’s escrow account without sharing account or routing numbers. This keeps the process double blind, and it’s a 100% virtual transaction. Like Venmo for real estate.
The real estate boom of late has made wire fraud more of a risk. Most title agents were not equipped to double or triple their volume, so hackers have more opportunity. Protocols are built for a certain volume. Inevitably, mistakes are made. And two or three substantial instances of wire fraud are enough to put a title agency out of business.
The mortgage industry is one especially subject to ebbs and flows, hiring and firing, based on changing volume. If you implement tech and take people out of parts of the process most affected by drastic and sudden changes in volume, you make peoples’ jobs more secure.
It’s a balance. When rates are down, you do want to take advantage of that and not miss the boat. And then the pandemic hit, which affected loan officers immensely. In New Jersey, LOs couldn’t work remote. You’re not allowed to take an application from your home office. Lots of companies just paused.
The goal is to think about where volume might be in a year or two years. Mortgages aren’t going away. People want to buy houses, and people need loans to buy houses. But what will change is the delivery mechanism of data. Look at the evolution of pay stubs. They used to be hand-delivered, then they were faxed, then emailed, etc.
The idea is to implement and amend processes to save time. That said, no one wants to be able to close in a day, especially if they’re a first-time homebuyer. They want clarity about the process, not instantaneous results. The use of tech does have its limits.
If you save time by investing in tech, how does that affect people? Do they lose their jobs?
No, saving time and eliminating time-consuming steps doesn’t make a person’s job irrelevant. It frees them, up to do other things. LOs can expand into new markets, grow their team, and make more money.
Technology cannot replace humans. When things go sideways, clients want to talk to real human beings who understand the problems they’re experiencing. Tech just makes human interaction easier.
Paymints.io, for example, saves real estate agents’ time. Without paper checks, there’s no more driving around and collecting and depositing checks. Playing courier service is hardly the best use of a real estate agent’s expertise, right? They should be focused on meeting client needs, researching properties, answering questions, and finding new clients. Tech hasn’t stolen their job. It’s improved it.
As an operator, you’re focused on technology. Now that you’re trying to sell that technology to people, have you found it frustrating?
Part of the challenge is that the process is fragmented. No one owns the whole process. But we meet the consumer where they want to be met, and we solve very real problems. That said, everyone needs to accept new technologies for them to work. eSign platforms were around for a while before they caught on in the mortgage industry. We have to collaborate.
We’re able to help homebuyers and families move into home. We make an impact on people’s lives and on the industry.