For mortgage brokers who don’t do a lot of commercial financing, knowing where to take a deal can be a challenge.

The Financing Hub wants to solve that. For the past year, the company has been quietly honing an online tool that:

  1. Lets a mortgage broker enter a commercial deal
  2. Gauges lender appetite for that deal, and then
  3. Facilitates that deal through to closing.

“The Financing Hub is a digital solution that provides both the broker and the lender significant time and cost savings,” says founder Paul McGill. “It allows you as the broker-user to compile the important submission data and related application documents through the easy-to-use online application form. The system then reviews your inputs to select a working list of likely funders for that transaction.”

The site is useful for everything from retail space financing, office space financing and Eco-Retrofit financing, to construction loans and multi-unit residential financing. The system is powered by Northbrook Financial Technologies and currently has 23 commercial lenders.

None of the Big 6 banks are presently participating, but the group does feature well-known commercial players such as Equitable Bank, Home Trust, Alterna Credit Union and Harbour Mortgage. The largest loan closed on the site to date is $23 million.

The Financing Hub isn’t the only player in the space, of course. Vancouver-based Fundever is another system that connects commercial lenders with brokers.

What distinguishes The Financing Hub, McGill says, is its ability to directly connect brokers with the lender of their choice, and then allow the broker to use its system to interact with the lender(s) through to closing.

“Both the broker and the lender have just one consistent electronic worksheet. They work through that rather than pulling changes, additions and deal comments together from various emails,” says McGill. “We also have Transaction Support services that allows the submitting broker to access commercial mortgage expertise if they need it.”

Brokers pay no fees for transacting with lenders through the system. The company makes money by charging lenders a fee (in basis points) per closed mortgage. 

If a broker needs help structuring a commercial deal, registered support agents can help for a fee. Depending on how much work the agent wants to do they can simply refer the deal to a support agent and get a 20% referral fee, or they can co-broker it for a 50/50 split.

“The benefit to the originating agent,” says McGill, “is that they have an ability to gain more experience on the commercial side…and the borrower remains their client.”

“For the agent wanting to diversify and add $500,000 to $5-million commercial deals as part of their business…[support agents] help them get started. After a few deals they should be able to go direct to lenders on their own.”

Going forward, McGill says the goal of The Financing Hub is to expand the pool of lenders and offer new alternative financing programs, options that its members typically wouldn’t have access to on their own.