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8Twelve Mortgage CEO & Broker, Gary Fooks told CMP more about the company’s plans for 2022.
Fergal McAlinden of Canadian Mortgage Professional spoke with Gary Fooks of 8Twelve Mortgage Corporation to find out more about the company’s plans this year.
In a mortgage market whose pace has barely relented over the past two years, a common problem faced by brokers and agents alike has been the lack of time available to focus on what matters to them – whether that be a better work-life balance or a greater focus on growing their business.
It was a pitfall to the profession that Gary Fooks (pictured above) recognized upon becoming licensed in 2014, but one that he felt his extensive experience in sales and management left him qualified to address.
Fooks had already cut his teeth building and operating sales and service organizations, including over 250 global contact centres, as well as managing large-scale campaigns for global companies.
After enjoying near-immediate early success as an agent, funding just shy of $100 million in mortgages by his third year, he recognized an opportunity to replicate his own process and empower agents at 8Twelve Mortgage Corporation, the company he founded alongside President and Principal Broker, Akber Abbas.
The company developed its own proprietary technology, featuring everything built into one platform: mortgage application process, client lifecycle management, telephony, secure document management, eDocs signature system, and marketing and text messaging platforms.
“If you’re a large enterprise partner, and you want to trust someone with your clients, it’s very hard to refer them to random mortgage brokers and hope that they do the job right,” Fooks explained.
The name of 8Twelve Mortgage’s end-to-end FinTech platform, INFIN8, was chosen for a very specific reason: to represent the infinite possibilities available to the clients, agents, and lenders using it. According to Akber Abbas, the company’s Co-Founder and President, the platform was developed with the aim of furthering one of 8Twelve’s core goals: to advance the digital revolution in the broker channel with the technologies and processes at its disposal.
The company itself is made up of three distinct business units: 8Twelve Financial Technologies, the parent company, which develops financial services software such as the INFIN8 platform, 8Twelve Mortgage Corp, a national brokerage with access to all major lenders, and 8Twelve Capital, an administration company that funds private mortgages.
Its forward-thinking, future-focused approach is one of the most striking aspects of 8Twelve Mortgage. Abbas says its founders’ innovation-heavy backgrounds (he worked for various Silicon Valley and technology companies; CEO and broker Gary Fooks has expertise in customer experience) played a key role in ensuring its continued success throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even in 2015, 2016, it was still manila folders and yellow notepads and a lot of paper going back and forth,” Abbas says. “The reason why 8Twelve Mortgage has been growing year-over-year, month-over-month, is because we were pandemic-proof or pandemic-ready. We were ready by being future-forward. We already had the technology to be paperless; we were already working on managing Zoom meetings; we were already working on a remote environment, and we were doing that in 2017, 2018, and 2019.”
That technology-centered approach meant that far from flatlining, 8Twelve’s operations actually flourished during the pandemic, helping it attract new talent and ensuring steady growth while many other organizations were facing upheaval during those uncertain early days of the outbreak in 2020. Central to its success among brokers is that intuitive, seamless system that has allowed the company to onboard talent and help new agents hit the ground running, irrespective of their level of experience.
“The system will take your hand and walk you through the steps of the mortgage; that’s why we’re seeing consistent five-star reviews,” Abbas says. “We have teams in-house that take care of, for example, back-office administration, funding administration, and so on. That’s really where our specialty is and why we’re growing really well. We’re taking a different approach on the mortgage brokerage business and how we’re onboarding and treating our staff as well.”
That ability to walk employees through the process, and take care of time-consuming administrative tasks for them, allows mortgage professionals to focus on the areas of their business that really matter to them, whether that’s developing new relationships or cultivating referrals. While mortgage agents have traditionally been required to find and manage business, working on new leads to the detriment of their productivity, Abbas says 8Twelve’s system lets agents focus on the side of the business that reflects their strengths.
The company has also fully embraced integrations, viewing them as central to the future of the mortgage industry, and it’s always open to new partnerships and enhancements. Its current partners include Filogix, Newton, Zoom, Hellosign, and Docusign; standard email platforms are also built into the company’s technology.
“We’ve created a platform that’s open to connecting to partners today and in the future,” Abbas says. “Our philosophy has always been that great new technologies are being developed out there.”
The company has also built an impeccable reputation with lenders, which Abbas attributes to its team of diligent underwriters, who work with agents to package deals and information correctly.
“Time and again, I hear from our lender partners that when they see an 8Twelve file, they’re bringing it to the top,” he says. “They know it’s consistent [and that] all the checks and balances are done. That increases our ability to collect fees and deliver value for our clients, but it’s also reducing the operating costs for our lenders, which they love. We’re building those deep relationships, time and time again.”
Posted November 11, 2020
Are you one of the approximately 1 in 7 Canadian workers who are self-employed ? Self-employed workers are a diverse group, one that includes everyone from tech entrepreneurs to mobile yoga instructors, gig-economy drivers to freelance consultants, crafters and creators.
Working for yourself can be as rewarding as it is challenging. One of the ways to set your small business up for success is to create an office HQ that is appropriate for the scale of your work – and ambition. If you’re still using your kitchen table to run your business from, stop. Now is the time to carve out your own dedicated office space. Here’s why… with an added tip on how to access renovation financing.
Having a dedicated work space entitles you to Canada Revenue Agency tax deductions including a portion of your utilities, maintenance, property tax and mortgage interest. But under CRA rules, this is only the case if the home office is your primary work space, and/or it’s the primary location where you meet clients and customers.
All this to say: your kitchen table won’t qualify! But consider repurposing your guest bedroom into a home office, renovating your garage into a workshop or finishing your basement into a studio. A work-from-home reno is one home improvement that you’ll be glad you did, come tax time.
Another benefit of having a dedicated work space in your home is the ability to stay organized and focused on your tasks. Trying to stay organized and focused on specific tasks in a shared, mixed-use space can be a daily challenge.
To use the kitchen table example again: imagine trying to work on a specific project using multiple files, spreading out across the table, only to have to pack up in mid-day because someone needs to make a meal. Or misplacing important papers because another household member stacked them incorrectly when they used the table. Or finding food stains on client paperwork because… well, it’s a busy kitchen.
A dedicated home office provides room to spread out without intruding into shared family space, and to set up organization systems that keep files safe and secure. And when you close the door at the end of the work day, you can re-set your frame of mind to home time – which can be a challenge if you see a stack of projects waiting on the kitchen counter.
Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed even more Canadians into work-from-home arrangements . Videoconferencing has gone mainstream and many workers are familiar with the routine of trying to set up enough distractions to ensure their children don’t wander into camera view. Or, furiously tidying up so their colleagues don’t see a messy backdrop!
A dedicated home office space ensures you’ve always got a professional-calibre backdrop for those video calls, not to mention minimal background noise, and easy access to any files you may need.
When you’re ready to create a more efficient work-from-home space that works harder for you, reach out to 8Twelve Mortgage. Our team of mortgage brokers can access renovation financing solutions to make your home office, workshop or studio dreams a reality. Our Mortgage Strategists are specialists in mortgage refinancing, reverse mortgages, renovation loan products and the lowest HELOC rates.
Posted November 11, 2020
8Twelve Mortgage Corp. Announces Launch of their new brokerage business
Toronto, Canada, 4th September, 2018, 8Twelve Mortgage announces it has launched its new business operations and is open for business.
Getting a mortgage is often the largest financial commitment Ontarians make and many homebuyers find that there are several benefits to using a mortgage broker or mortgage agent. Mortgage brokers/agents provide options and information to guide consumers through the mortgage application process.
Consumers are experiencing problems getting approved by conventional banks: “20% more mortgages are being denied by big banks”, says the Financial Post in a February, 2018 article outlining the impact of new credit rules on consumer applications. While a published average mortgage approval rate (US) is 88.2%, our brokers have proven to regularly reach approval rates in the 95% range. Clearly 8Twelve Mortgage Brokers are seeing higher success rates, in part due to access to a variety of funding sources. Ontarians who use a mortgage brokerage to get a first mortgage or refinance do it faster and at a better rate. In addition, customers found the mortgage process less stress with the help of a broker, while getting benefits of comparative shopping, and higher levels of satisfaction.
What differentiates 8Twelve is its three core values it has built its business on, which are customer-first, integrity and responsiveness. We spend time with our customer understanding their particular situation and needs before we even start the search for the best mortgage option. We do what we say and say what we do – we believe in transparency and survive on customer referrals, which are earned through our honesty and skills. We are flexible in how we conduct business: we’ll call, fax, email or text, and we’ll come to your home or meet you in our offices, at almost any hour to suit your needs.
8Twelve specializes in: first home buyers, mortgage renewals, renovation financing, mortgages for new Canadians or those with poor credit, CHIP reverse mortgages, access to equity and mortgages for investment property or second homes.
8Twelve Mortgage is a new and exciting company founded by a team of expert mortgage specialist with decades of experience. Co-founder Gary Fooks says “we are passionate about helping people achieve their goals of purchasing their biggest asset, renovating, constructing or adding to their investment portfolio. One of the most important aspects of our service is to ensure that our clients have a thorough understanding of their situation and what will work best for them now and in the future. Our high level of commitment, attention to detail, access to the latest and best market information, and availability, means that our clients have all the facts to make decisions that work for them. Our goal is to provide a smart solution tailored to every client individually and to find the best product to ensure a smooth process. We welcome the opportunity to help you with your lending needs.”
Loyal customers recommend us:
· “… he won’t give up until you’re happy and that is my personal outlook and attitude so I highly respect meeting and working with people with the same work ethic and principles,” says customer Jordan Levy.
· “.. above and beyond to answer all our questions, was available at all hours, provided us with detailed updates and found us a very competitive rate. Gary even drove to our house, on his day off, to help us with signing papers, because my wife had dislocated her knee and was unable to travel. I could not be more pleased with the level of customer service and we will definitely be dealing with Gary for the remainder of our mortgage,” says customers Brien and Kelly, from Cambride ON.
· “… very knowledgeable at what he does. He went above and beyond to help me get a great rate, I will definitely recommend him to anyone without blinking an eye. You make me feel comfortable during the whole process. I just want to say a big thank you for everything you have done for me and my family” says customer Pat Ejenavi
“We started this company because we wanted to enhance the experience customers have when working with a mortgage agent”, says Co-founder and Principal Broker Akber Abbas. “We have developed a unique 8 step process that we work around the clock to make sure we deliver the best experience for our customers. Hence the name 8Twelve!”
Fully licensed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO 13072) 8Twelve mortgage professionals have met specific education, experience and suitability requirements.
8Twelve Mortgage Corp. is a premier full-service mortgage brokerage whose brokers have experience servicing Ontario-wide communities for decades. The firm helps customers get the best mortgage they possibly can.