The broker business is paperwork intensive, to put it mildly. You’ve got lender approvals, provincial disclosures, service agreements, client income documents, purchase agreements, and so on and so on.
Pushing all that paper can be tedious and time consuming. Anyone trying to scale their business has undoubtedly thought about how to streamline document processing and staff accordingly. That includes the founder of DocAssist, a new-ish broker service company that we came across recently.
CMT has looked at document outsourcing services (like Nexsys Financial) in the past but the price was never right. With DocAssist, it’s much righter.
DocAssist is essentially a virtual support team at the ready to assist small, medium and even top-producing brokerages. Its goal is to save brokers processing time so they can allocate more resources to marketing and mortgage planning.
“We work with brokers who see the value in expanding their operations, either to increase revenue and spend more time advising clients, or to improve their lifestyle and spend less time getting paper cuts,” says founder Jason Henneberry.
“Our partners believe, as we do, that they can be more effective at growing their businesses by outsourcing repeatable activities and processes that often keep them tied to their desk.”
Basic membership to DocAssist gives brokers access to a variety of on-demand document management services, including:
- CRA Notice of Assessment retrieval;
- Title and Corporate Registry searches;
- Client document management (sorting and labelling all inbound documentation and delivery of receipt notifications to clients and referral sources);
- Post-funding marketing support (personally signed thank-you cards, preparation and delivery of closing gifts, welcome packages, renewal letters and other custom client marketing).
For document retrieval, brokers are charged about the same as what it would cost to get these documents directly. DocAssist makes its money on subscription and per-file fees. For example:
- As low as $29 per month for 10 NOA retrievals.
- $50 per file for client document management.
- $100 per file for client document management plus preparation of closing packages (signature-ready lender forms, disclosures & closing documents) and uploading complete compliance documents to the brokerage.
- Professional fulfillment services are also available starting at $249 per month and $250 per instance. This includes services such as initial file review, closing package preparation (cost of borrowing disclosures, lender forms, etc…), file completion and fulfillment (managing appraisals and working directly with lenders to satisfy conditions and complete the file for instruction), and even vacation coverage.
“There’s a common misconception in our industry that in order to provide the “best service,” a broker needs to be involved in the entire mortgage process,” Henneberry says. “This belief has so many of us justifying why we aren’t willing to let go and we try to do everything ourselves.”
Henneberry estimates that, on average, his 200+ clients save over five hours per file. “…This time can be re-allocated to more productive, business-generating activities,” he adds.
On the issue of security and confidentiality, Henneberry openly acknowledges that some have concerns about outsourcing sensitive information to a platform run by another brokerage. DocAssist operations are completely firewalled, he assures. The company carefully abides by all PIPEDA requirements and runs on a system separate from MortgagePal, the brokerage he also operates. After closing, all client information is stored with, and only accessible to, the brokerage that owns the client relationship.
At the end of the day, this type of service boils down to cost/benefit. The cost of a full-time documents fulfillment officer can range from $35,000 to $65,000 a year, and that cost is generally fixed. By contrast, DocAssist affords the benefits of variable pricing and outsourced HR headaches. For that reason, it’s probably worth a look for anyone (especially smaller shops) thinking of hiring an assistant.
Sidebar: Interested brokers can sign up for a 15-day free trial with unlimited NOA retrieval at docassist.ca.