Rocket Mortgage Canada enters the lending space

Company president on a big step forward for the mortgage giant

Rocket Mortgage Canada enters the lending space

Rocket Companies’ Canadian arm, Rocket Mortgage Canada, launched north of the border last year as a brokerage – and has now announced its long-awaited debut in the mortgage lending space here, a move its president described as a further step towards its goal of “impact[ing] every part of the home loan experience.”

Hash Aboulhosn (pictured top) told Canadian Mortgage Professional that the company’s jump into lending, which has been in the works for some time, marked its continuing commitment to using technology and innovation to drive the mortgage process forward.

“We see ourselves pushing the envelope for the entire brokerage industry in terms of technology, in terms of setting the standard of what’s possible,” he said.

“It’s still early days for our lender, but increasingly – I think that’ll become clear as we put in place our vision – I’m really excited to see how that helps move the whole industry to a better place and also then make it much more competitive with a lot of these incumbents.”

With a growing focus on ensuring that all parties – client, agent, lender, real estate broker and lawyer – are always aware of the status of the loan application, Aboulhosn said Rocket has emphasized bringing the entire process, including documents, on to one end-to-end platform.

“Banks have recently had that advantage, but banks and credit unions have really struggled to innovate dramatically and so much of that stuff is done slowly,” he said. “And that, I think, is where we see the big opportunity for the broker channel, having the ability to move quickly, working with different technology providers – but having them talk to each other.”

Rocket has worked with Lendesk to ensure that the entire mortgage transaction occurs on one platform from the brokerage element all the way through to underwriting, servicing, and aggregation – “and that has not really been done before in the broker space,” Aboulhosn said.

A move that marks the next step in Rocket’s expansion in Canada

The company set its sights on establishing itself as a lender in Canada from an early stage, having rebranded on the brokerage side from Edison Financial last summer.

Aboulhosn reflected with satisfaction on the lengthy journey to the lending side, which involved fulfilling a series of detailed regulatory requirements, identifying aggregators, and building a first-rate team to handle the lender component.

“That idea of setting out a vision, creating a plan, and then seeing it all come together and having a team work together to execute it really is an incredibly rewarding experience,” he said.

“The mortgage is a very complex product and it’s hard enough to become a lender, let alone become a lender and try to change the game and deliver a next-level experience that our agents and clients really have come to expect, and others promise them.”

How has the company drawn on its vast US network?

While Rocket is a mortgage lending giant in the US market, efforts north of the border have been spearheaded nearly entirely by its Canadian team – although Aboulhosn said being able to pick the brains of likeminded experts across the group of companies in both countries had proven invaluable during the building process.

“Where we’re really able to shine, where our being part of the family of companies – the Rocket company – is so impactful is that we have access to this brain trust of people who are all only ever a phone call, or in some cases a couple of doors away,” he said.

“Where someone who’s an expert in capital markets policy or in underwriting operations or credit risk or whatever the case might be, [we’re] able to call those people and talk about, ‘How does it work in the US? How does it work in Canada? How do we have the lessons that Rocket has learned in the US and adapt them to Canada?’”

That’s proven an invaluable way of making the right moves, he added, and operating a startup mentality without the naivete that sometimes goes along with it.

“In that way, what might take a startup 10 failed attempts to get something right… might only take us two,” he said, “because we’ve had the benefit of avoiding eight of the wrong experiments.”

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