A Look At Filogix Expert

Filogix-ExpertThe vast majority of brokers send mortgage applications to lenders using a software platform called Expert. Expert is like the Microsoft Windows of the mortgage broker industry—a dominant product that commands an estimated 90% market share.

Expert was acquired by Davis + Henderson (D+H) in 2006 when D+H bought Filogix. The platform is now used by 77 lenders and 14,500 brokers (this is the number of unique brokers who’ve submitted an application on Expert in the past 90 days).

There have been few challengers to Expert in recent years. MorWeb and Axcess Canada are the two current competitors, and it’s no secret why there are just two. Taking market share from a well-entrenched industry player is a formidable task. New entrants need to:

  • make huge investments in infrastructure
  • convince brokerages and lenders that their new platform is worth the training, time, and investment and,
  • contend with customers’ existing contractual obligations.

The contracts lenders sign to use Expert are sometimes a challenge in and of themselves. We’ve heard that lenders may be restricted, for example, from accepting applications from Expert users via a competing platform or via that lender’s own website.

From an objective business standpoint, however, it’s hard to slight D+H for wanting to protect its franchise. Those who expend enormous efforts to build multi-million dollar enterprises always “dig moats” around their companies. It tends to make competition-driven innovation more difficult, but that is business.

When a technology vendor dominates its space like D+H does, there is also a question of how motivated it is to enhance its platform.

"We never underestimate the competition,” says Steve Malone, VP of Broker Services at D+H. "We are more motivated now than ever to strengthen our product offering to clients. Becoming part of D&H, makes this more so.”

Like all software, Expert has had occasional faults. One well-known bug has been unintentional client-data merging during simultaneously open sessions. Due to its complexity, that fix has taken longer than some expected. Nevertheless, D+H says it takes every bug report seriously and prioritizes them as soon as they come in.

"A major initiative is working on maintenance,” says Malone. “We now have a dedicated team working solely on those fixes with their own release schedule.”

ExpertIndeed, having a well-capitalized company behind the industry’s core technology has benefits. Additional resources are but one of the advantages a major company like Davis + Henderson brings to Filogix.

“There is stability that comes from being part of a company that’s been around since 1875. There are investment dollars available that never would have been available when Filogix was on its own. Simply because of our size, our customers have access to a much more robust skill-set than before. D+H employs 750 people in our technology area, and this number continues to grow.”

Apart from reinvesting in Expert and other loan processing technologies, D+H has been at work on a few new items. One is an identity theft solution called IDefence. IDefence is being launched at CAAMP’s Expo in November and brokers will get a complimentary basic membership, just by being an Expert user.

D+H is also rolling out a new landing page for Expert. It’s intended to be a “destination website” for brokers with news and offers from D+H partners.

In the near future, the “Filogix” branding that brokers have come to know will change, says Malone. “I think it’s inevitable that you’ll see all parts of our business branded under the D+H banner in the near future. It better supports who we are now—an integrated solutions provider with a much broader range of capabilities.”

Sidebar: Davis+Henderson’s stock has ascended 26% in the last 12 months. Here’s a Chart…

  1. I would love to see an API so we can pull our client data from Expert and use it in our own CRM programs. Right now we can only export a subset of data into a CSV file and that is impossible to automate.

  2. I’ve often looked at such CRM capabilities, although i strongly think that this cannot apply to Expert. Fundamentally, from the database perspective, Expert revolves around the mortgage, meaning that for one mortgage, you can have multiple people, but each mortgage are separate and therefore if you do 2 seperate mortgages for Jane Doe, to expert, these are 2 different Jane Doe.
    to relate the 2 in a CRM, you’d need a unique client identifier which would be identical to the 2 Jane Doe… Since typo error are common, you can’t rely on the name and first name, SIN number is not mandatory, so this can’t be used either, and address is subject to change. So the way expert is currently built there is no way to avoid having multiple contact entry for the same person in a CRM. this is big problem.
    The solution would mean in my opinion a serious redesign on the expert part, where the applicant would be separate and unique to the mortgage. Thus when creating a mortgage file, you’d have the option to select the applicant from a list of current contact or create a new contact and apply it to the mortgage file. This change will mean that each time you do a mortgage to Jane Doe, it’ll always be the same Jane Doe… Bonus feature, if you go in Jane Doe contact you’d automatically have access to all different mortgages for her at a glance.

  3. Nicolas, Right now I can search Expert by name and all the deals with that name appear instantly. How would your idea be different? Just wondering. JP

  4. It is unfortunate that Filogix has tied up so many with it’s contracts and that lenders are not more open to using other systems. Morweb is a far superior program. The primary difference being that it is client based and not application based like Expert so superior integration with CRM programs and generally a better tool for managing your business such as task management.

  5. Lenders never wanted multiple systems. It was too costly to run, train underwriters and maintain. I don’t believe it was necessarily the contracts that tied up lenders, but their own requests in technology efficiency. CRM functionality was never high on the lender agenda, they were more interested in receiving business. Look back when there were three platforms out there, how efficient was that?

  6. D&H is also a category killer in the personalized cheques business. A business relationship that earns FI’s a very healthy commission for every personalized cheque order they process. D&H’s longstanding and close relationship with the FI’s is well entrenched and IMO, deservingly so.

  7. As Nicholas laid out in his comments…Expert is used to handle mortgage transactions…and managing clients sometimes needs to be looked at from the view of managing one customer and then the mortgages they have with you. As Peter posted above “what about inContact”..(..thanks Peter for the plug…btw). inContact’s integration with Expert does exactly what Nicholas suggested. Our solution, automatically, every 2 hours, syncs with Expert, and rearranges the data to ensure you have 1 client listed and all the mortgages that person has done with you, listed under that contact record. From there you can do many things…check us out at http://www.incontact.ca.

  8. Expert is very poorly designed and that makes it a challenge to use it. There is nothing that you can just do intuitively on this platform. For example, try adding a third applicant. Better call technical support because otherwise you will be spending close to an hour trying to figure it out. Design flaws like this abound in the product. The problem is that with 90% of market share they can inflict the illogical on brokers.

  9. Expert just runs soooooo slowly, moving from one screen to another takes forever. Anyone else get frustrated with the “screen is currently loading” message when trying to click around a file quickly. Feels like a wind up toy at times. Certainly winds me up!

  10. So a year and a half later and I still don’t see an API from these guys. We’re currently integrating D+H with a customized version of SugarCRM. Is the only option for pushing data back and forth via uploading and downloading a .csv file?

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