September 26th, 2018
Ep28-Mar 8: Rethinking Brokers with Muhammad Rashid
NCFA Canada | Mar 8, 2019
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Ep28-Mar 8: Rethinking Brokers with Muhammad Rashid
About this episode: On this episode of the Fintech Friday's Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Muhammad Rashid the CEO of Moregidge. They chatted about how to find a broker that will work for you, how they are revolutionizing the mortgage space and their plans for the future. - Enjoy!
HOST: Manseeb Khan, Fintech Friday's show host
BIO: Muhammad started his career at Flipp, a Toronto-based startup helping retailers digitize traditional circulars and re-imagine the weekly shopping experience. He built and scaled the operations team from 10 people to over 300 across 4 countries. He was also instrumental in developing user retention and retailer ROI strategies through content acquisition and promoting added utility within the mobile app. From there, Muhammad joined Sampler, working alongside manufacturers to distribute targeted, measurable samples directly to consumers. He lead the strategy and expansion of their logistics network into international countries including the UK, France, Italy and Germany. Muhammad is now the Co-Founder and CEO of Moregidge, focusing on reinventing the home-buying experience.
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Transcription of Interview
Intro: Welcome fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners.Covering all things fintech block chain be AI and alternative finance.
Manseeb Khan: Muhammad thanks so much for sitting down with me today man.
Muhammad Rashid: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Manseeb Khan: For sure for sure. So, could you just for the five or six people that may not know essentially who you are and what your business is. Could you give us a little bit of a rundown of a little bit of your background Mohammed and what Mortgidge is?
Muhammad Rashid: Sure. Yeah. So, all sort of in my background though kind of lay the foundation and do some context on what it is we're building but I came from the tech space I worked from for a bunch of different startups. A lot of them are Canadian success stories like flip my co-founders for companies like Coinsquare, Sampler etc. And a lot of our experience was in building consumer facing technology. I also happen to be a mortgage agent as my side hustle you know kind of a common theme that everybody's got their own side also going. But being mortgage agent actually turned out to be pretty lucrative for me and that's where when I saw an uptick in my own volume, I sort of saw an opportunity to build a solution that helps empower primarily me as a broker to steal my business. They organized and helped work with my customers which when. They turn into the venture I do that we've got in front of us, so mortgage is essentially a digital mortgage platform designed for brokers specifically and we're helping them essentially connect and collaborate with their application. So, you know digitizing the entire end to end process everything from you know receiving a digital application collecting the documents submitting it to a lender and actually closing it and moving into that home. All that can be done on our platform from it. So that's what we're all about.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah that's awesome. I love the whole side hustle story. I mean you know I think everybody would go and everyone has one and like that's the amazing thing about like businesses I'm just like you know some of the past companies that I've interviewed of like you know a lot of their businesses now that are successful like now that I like to touch on what you guys are doing like you guys just closed out a pre-seed round. A lot of businesses start as a side house and then it slowly transitions into an actual hustle.
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah. Yeah, it's super exciting for us. I. The only reason I actually ever got into the mortgage like you know do mortgages as a side hustle. My parents for lack of a better word got screwed over you know with a mortgage broker way back when. And there's always going to be bad apples in an industry. But that was kind of the motivating factor for me to actually get my license and it turns out you know three hundred dollars three months and of course in your license to sell mortgages in Canada. And so that's scary but also good at the same time making the fact that you know I was licensed in three months to be able to do mortgages for anybody in Canada. So I was really through that experience that we got to where we are but yeah I was you know I attribute a lot of what we've been able to accomplish and achieve in the short succession to the careers I've had in the startup tech community and so you know I owe a lot of what we've been able to build to Flip to Coinsquare to Sampler because it was a lot of those experiences that serve as guiding principles for how we're shaping forming our platform and our company today.
Manseeb Khan: So yeah good. No that's incredible. So, I mean to harp on a little bit more on the mortgage space. Yeah essentially. Could you just give us a little bit more of what's your philosophy when it comes to mortgages? What are you guys trying to hopefully like revolutionizing the space and essentially why should listeners really care about the work you guys are kind of doing a Moregidge.
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah. If you think about it, you know anybody who ever is seeking out a mortgage or planning on purchasing a home their first inkling is you know I've got to go to a bank obtain a preapproval or apply for a mortgage. And that was kind of the primary medium or channel that people were going through. Now a lot of people realize that the brokers are simply an option in obtaining a mortgage. If you think about it, you know brokers are typically considered or they were considered taboo you know decades ago you really only went to a broker because you know you were getting declined everywhere else. You fast forward a few years people start to realize hey you know what brokers actually have optionality. They've got access to multiple lenders instead of just one. And it's by stroke of luck that the B20, the stress test and the new regulations coming into play making it that much more difficult for some of the lenders to you know the big five Canadian banks to approve mortgages which means more and more people are actually flocking to the broker channel to actually seek out approvals and increase the likelihood or chances of approval and so it's you know that's where we kind of see the shift happening between you know staying loyal to your lender or to your bank and actually people moving over towards the broker channel to actually obtain a mortgage. But there's actually this sort of underlying shift happening in the industry as a whole and so you know kind of put the size of it into perspective the mortgage industry is about 400-billion-dollar market. And I love throwing that number because a lot of people don't understand the magnitude of how important this is. And so, it's also one of the last sorts of industries that's seen little to no innovation in the last little while. And so, you've got a consumer who's shifting towards you know migrating towards digital experiences you know asking for more intuitive applications to help facilitate any other transactions. But you've got an industry that's slowly you know it's surrounded by red tape, regulations you know the lack of open banking in Canada are making things difficult to move in the right direction. And so you've got this industry that's kind of stagnated as a whole and so we saw an enormous opportunity to help leverage the data that's available and market an intuitive experience and essentially empowering the people who are trusted adviser in the space to help foster that migration of consumers not only moving away from banks over to brokers but also for people who are migrating towards wanting a digital experience to facilitate their mortgage the next time they're looking for a transaction.
Manseeb Khan: The fact that Canada's open banking rules and regulations like it is it is very strenuous is very it's very locked down. But you know it's I've said this a couple times on the show but like Canada is traditionally very conservative. And the fact that like Canada is now slowly starting to kind of open up its doors and start considering you know smaller fintech like you. And now it sucks but hopefully like in the later on a future like open banking would be more accessible. And it just going to make it that much more easier for Canadians to kind of not really know what they think mortgages don't have to go to a bank right. They can kind of go to guys like you. They can go to another mortgage broker or they can become one of their own. You know like mortgage their house if they want to spend three hundred dollars and three and three months of their time. But yeah no I mean like I think open banking is definitely a great conversation.
Muhammad Rashid: The have that like the whole industry sort of evolving wanting to move towards open banking that's kind of a byproduct of the way Canadian consumers behave. And so like I said we really early on took a look at the U.S. market try to understand what it looks like and we pivoted to focus on broker specifically because of the two things that we noticed in that survey and so the first one was the fact that you know consumers prefer to use more technology not solely technology on their next transaction. And so having a broker guide you through that process provides you with feedback really understand what it is you need and sort of develop or build a product or solution from any of the lenders they work with that's tailored to what you're looking for but the second part of it is the fact that you know there's an increasing trend of people moving towards brokers and so it's not only for the fact that brokers have an increased chance of approval but it's the fact that they've got optionality. They've got a different array of products that might better suit what I'm looking for. They can also offer me a TD product lower than what TD is offering it to me at. And they simply do that by buying down their commission. So, a lot of people who sort of hesitated to using a broker because they felt like they were shady or was there sort of last resort are now actually going to brokers first because they realize that they're actually the optimal choice and in having a conversation with whether they're seeking out their next mortgage.
Manseeb Khan: It definitely dresses like people's overall laziness of I mean I'm saying laziness, laziness and in a good way right. I like the fact that like think about it like OK I want to buy a house and I mean I'm recording out a Yspace Markham I'm so OK I'll buy if only buy a house and Markham I'm I got to go to a bank and I've got to sit down with got a book and a meeting with a mortgage broker that that's going to take who knows how long? Cool then has to go through my entire background make sure I have good credit. It feels like a daunting task right. Because like hey it should really be easier. Like if I want to buy a home let me just buy a home. I want to spend four weeks five weeks. God knows how long to like just to get in the process of getting a home. Finding somebody finding, a right broker that you know or finding a right bank that's going to really help me out. Right. Exactly.
Muhammad Rashid: And then you've got caught up in the fact that mortgage products themselves are complex and the fact that know there's prepayment privileges there might be higher penalties associate with specific product. And so you know put aside the fact that it's complex but if you've now got to research the different lenders their different offerings and some of these banks are actually only available to brokers think of the brokers as your Expedia you're going to search mortgage transaction through them and they're going to go out and farm out all the deals for you and find out what the best product that suits your needs is and so yeah when you when you get to the point that people are looking for convenience you know a broker is the first step in that process for somebody doing all the research and all the effort for you. And then we see ourselves as the medium or the channel to help take that to the next level in terms of digitizing the end to end process. And so, we layer on top of the brokers but that's how we see ourselves seamlessly working together with them.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah for sure and like you know I mean to speak on about the general consumers. I mean consumers are getting a lot more smarter right. Like we have so much access. I mean we have the Internet. We have a lot of access of information to understand like you in like an hour you can probably have a really good I like brass tacks of like a mortgage option be best for you according to your past credit history.
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah no I wholeheartedly agree. I think gone are the days where it takes you know eight weeks for you to get an answer on whether you're going to be approved and you're sitting their nail biting whether you're going to get approved or not. And so, you know access to data making things a lot easier. The turnaround times for underwriting timelines etc. You know getting down to instantaneously giving a responsive consumer whether they're approved. Yet the convenience factor is definitely a plus. But just having a response immediately and then having to of course correct to find another solution in quick succession is what's key here.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah. And it's kind of incredible like you know we have companies like you in the space that are educating not only like businesses and people in this space but you're educating people in general and like making them understand hey it's like this doesn't what to look for in a mortgage broker. These are the 10 tips to kind of you know like the education role that a lot of the businesses that are playing in the mortgage space like you said like you could do how much billion is in the mortgage space again. Four hundred. Yes. So.
Muhammad Rashid: So, the mortgage industry as a whole in Canada is about 400 billion. OK. The broker channel specifically represents 50 percent of that so 200 billion goes to brokers.
Muhammad Rashid: Which is which is which is just insane. Yeah. Exactly. Which is insane. That's a that's a stat that I'm sure not many people know. This create an incredible opportunity for everybody to like hey like this space is a lot of growth. Like you mentioned on the top of an episode of like you know like it's very like they haven't like the mortgage space hasn't really updated since. God knows how long. Right. And the fact that like there is like it should be like a tech implementation to make to make this entire mortgage process that much more easier and much more fluid and much more simpler for like the everyday consumer.
Muhammad Rashid: Exactly. Exactly. I think it's just the general lack of motivation in wanting to improve you know potentially one of the most profitable products for lending institution. But now you. But again, you know to your point you've got a much more informed consumer you've got the ability for them to shop these rates around you've got brokers who have access to banks that don't even face consumers. Yeah. And so be able to access those lenders who might offer me a better deal just because they don't have the brick and mortar is that some of these big five makes up about less of an overhead to offer me a better rate and so you know just like just like you've got fintech we're now heading into the lending space you've got more these different lending institutions popping up again through the broker channel that are giving consumers better access to you know rates better mortgage products but overall just a better consumer experience in obtaining a mortgage.
Manseeb Khan: No, I absolutely think so. I mean you guys did close a half a million-dollar pre-seed around what is I guess like what's the future look like for Moregidge. I mean is there something that us like we the listeners can kind of get excited about is there something that you know that you're really just you know dying to let the world know about?
Yeah. So yeah first of foremost is super exciting for us to close that round, we've got some investors that are pretty well entrenched in the Canadian tech community. So, you've got Goodnews ventures you've got MLA48 Fund you Hustle fund out there in Silicon Valley and all of them have been super instrumental in helping us get to where we are right now. What the future holds for us in terms of that fundraising round number one you've got an immediate opportunity to double down on our product and build a much better product for the brokers we're actually using it. And so, there's still some refinement that needs to happen there based on the feedback we get from them. But the bigger opportunity that exists in front of us is if you think about it from a consumer perspective when I go to purchase a home. Who am I talking to what I'm going through that transaction? I'm going to start with a broker. I'm going to talk to a realtor I might have to speak to an appraiser but I'm also going to speak to a solicitor and a lawyer that actually pulls on the transaction and so you've got all these different parties involved in the same transaction who are essentially collaborating offline anyways because they're sharing information between themselves. And so, where we see the bigger opportunity is to actually bring all these players in this in this transaction into an online ecosystem where they can you know easily collaborate with each other. But the net benefit is actually to the customer themselves and so the net friction for them is a lot less because I don't have to provide my ID or my documentation to four different parties. It's essential if they're collaborating on the same platform that flow of communication is a lot easier the flow of documentation and data is not much easier. Obviously assuming we've got to consent but the net benefits actually to the consumer and so you know we started with mortgage brokers because that was our domain expertise. We've got a waiting list of a couples hundred realtors ready to join our platform because the brokers themselves are bringing the Realtors on to help collaborate with them even more than what they're doing right now and so that's kind of the grander vision is building that end to end home buying journey. We focus on mortgages right now but there's obviously a much bigger opportunity in front of us.
Manseeb Khan: Right. And I guess how different the system would look to realtors would it be would it be comparable or.
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah. So, the good thing is that there's actually quite a bit of overlap in the way that mortgage brokers and realtors operate. And so, they essentially manage their book of business the same way. There’re a few specific features that they ideally be looking for so you know obviously the realtors are handling MLS agreements purchase and sale agreements a different set of contracts than a mortgage broker would do. But that's the primary Delta in how we shape the platform we've gotten really good feedback on them using our platform we're getting acquainted with it. There’re just a few minor tweaks to get us in the position where the real estate can actually use it as part of their day to day business. So, we're pretty close to unlocking that towards the second half of this year. But right now, we're primarily focused on brokers.
Manseeb Khan: That's awesome. That's awesome. So, I guess that when it comes to looking for a mortgage broker or when it comes to finding a mortgage broker what are like are tips looking for mortgage broker that we can rely on for Moregidge?
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah well, I'll give you my perspective. You know we've come across a bunch of different mortgage brokers. I think the ones that stand out are the ones who genuinely care about the relationship and are not on to actually push product. And so, you're going to see this shift happening in the industry as well where people are actually moving away from just the transactional model to more of a customer service-oriented model in that. They're really there to educate you like we're out in the industry educating people on using brokers, but the brokers need to educate consumers on what mortgage products are available at market. And so, education is a big part of it. But a bunch of different brokers that are actually now using different outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to educate the consumer base that's out there. So, education is a big part of make sure that your broker is informed, and knowledgeable reference points is a big back so don't hesitate to ask the broker for you know any of the previous clients they've worked with. Ask them for a one on one conversation understand their experience understand what they've gone through. Anybody who hesitates to introduce you to any of their previous clients that should be a red flag. But if they if they truly you know stand by their experience and share their expertise and a wealth of knowledge, they'd be happy to introduce you to anybody else and I think the last component is you know how willing they are to adapt and that's kind of the hardest one to gauge. But this isn't a plug for technology in any way but one of the biggest things we noticed is the people who are adopter technology are the people who are adapting with the industry as well and so they're the ones who want to understand how to make their consumers lives easier but they also want to educate themselves on the tools and the systems that are available to run their business a lot tighter to get access to better data and to be able to streamline the entire process and so you know look for four indicators you know somebody just using the bare minimum tools that are available on the market or they're actually taking it you know making the effort and taking the steps to make my life easier. So, my submission of documents is easier. Do they have an online digital application? Are they still making you fill out papers, so a bunch of those different indicators are good? A good way to assess whether a broker is the right fit for you. But a lot of it's really you know Brooke there's always going to be high trust relationships. We're try to use those three different key components to help evaluate whether the book is a good fit for you.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah, I like the if they don't let you have access to so in the past people that they helped out. Yeah there is something wrong with that, I'd question definitely. Yeah, I know for sure. I would be like wait hold up what are we doing here? I'm just trying to build a future. What are you doing? Yeah, I love it. I love it I love it So it's I mean it's a new year. What are you excited about in the space aside from the amazing work that you guys are doing over at Moregidge?
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah, I think in general just the direction that the industry is heading in I think you know we briefly touched on open banking but just as a whole you know you've got the different, you've got the consumer who's evolving towards a digital experience and they're wanting it. You've got brokers who are slowly adapting to leveraging technology. But you have the lenders themselves saying you know this is an opportunity for us to double down on building tech to streamline and process. So gone are the days where people said you know four to eight weeks for a mortgage transaction is the standard. There's no way of improving it. Everyone is actually challenging the status quo and saying you know there has to be a better way to do this. And so just that that general mentality in the industry is definitely positive even across the financial services industry. But beyond that you know one of the most exciting things for us is actually the Toronto tech community and so you know I just kind of a little shout out. But the fact that you know we came from tech startups like Flip, Coinsquare, Sampler we were part of some of these amazing cultures and helping grow these companies to the behemoths is that they are now but ever since we left that space and actually ventured out on our own you know the community has continued to be supportive of a lot of people I've helped you know reached out to us saying Hey do you want to chat over coffee will help you navigate you know sales and business development we'll help you navigate product management where obviously you know experience in those different functions but having the community offer a lending hand is really been a huge motivating factor for us and continue to develop what we're doing right now. And so that's one of the biggest things I'm thankful for. But it's also the thing that gets me excited to continue to build the company in Toronto. Yeah.
Manseeb Khan: No, I mean shout out to the Toronto tech community. These guys you know they're amazing for sure. I mean like the mind of. I mean the amount podcast leads and I get from that company then I sat down with like you talk to these guys get to do great stuff. It's definitely incredible. Yeah. I mean is there anything specifically open banking that you're excited about aside from mortgages? I know we definitely briefly touched about it like open banking is such a huge concept. I mean is it like five or six things that you might be like really excited about?
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah. Yeah. I've never done a few but really just the concept of open banking and the fact that there's much more free flowing information and access to data. I think that’s one of the key parts of open banking in that it's going to help further enable competition. And so, you know I kind of draw parallels to other industries where you know who doesn't get pissed off at their cell phone bill and say no there has to be a better contract available or I'm spending too much money on it. And so, the same applies to the financial services industry where you've kind of got the big five banks that have kind of dominated the industry for the loss of a while and so I actually see it in a positive light that there's motivation and an opportunity for these lending institutions to further refine their product offering and competition is healthy right. Helps you stay on your toes, it helps you know make sure that you're delivering the best solution to your customers and so open bank is actually going to be an opportunity to unlock that that healthy competition in the Canadian market especially because just giving again companies like us access to data obviously handling it in the right way but using that information to further promote better solutions better product better service for these customers is what's going to get everybody as a community driving towards better service and their customers. And so yeah, I actually see it in a positive light. I know a lot of people have varying opinions on it and I'm obviously biased because open banking helps our company, but I just think it's the general right direction for the entire industry in the entire financial services sector to be moving towards just help for the mountain foster that community in that healthy competition.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah and like open banking what it really does it really helps level the playing field. Right. Because like you mentioned like when you think of mortgages you think I'm going on bank the fact that you can go to an actual broker and to make that much of a less headache. That's amazing. Exactly you and taking that taking that concept and expanding it and putting it to other aspects of when it comes to banking like hey like if I want to find like a new insurance plan, I can do that. If I want to find a new savings plan, I can do it Like who has the best like if I want to get an investing. It just it really helps open up so many doors for consumers and for smaller fintech’s which is incredible because it just it just really levels out the playing field.
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah. I couldn't agree more. Your kind of heading towards this direction where all these different products and services are going to eventually start speaking to each other and so we're talking about optimizing that customer experience. Yeah, you're right. I'm going to start with my mortgage but hey, but I can also layer on home insurance. I can also package auto insurance and get a better discount, but you have all these different products in the system speaking to each other. It's only going to benefit the end consumer who's actually seeking out all these things. So yeah that's a step in the right direction.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah. And then it's going to slowly move towards of consumers kind of like doing everything just online not like an online supplement that should be. That's a very interesting conversation right there.
Muhammad Rashid: Exactly. Yeah. That's a topic in itself yeah.
Manseeb Khan: So, with that I just throw it on to you is there anything else you want to touch up on before we wrap this up?
Muhammad Rashid: Yeah. No, I think I think the biggest takeaway from this is just the education piece on the difference between a bank and a broker right. Well one of the things I'd like to quash is the negative perception of the negative connotation around the broker. And so like I said you know the common perception that a lot of even my former colleagues and a lot of people I speak to you know you only use a broker because everywhere else was declining or you know there's something wrong with your credit or something wrong with your income and that's why the reason you're using a broker. So I think the biggest takeaway for anybody listening to this is the fact that brokers again they offer you optionally they offer you an array of products that aren't available to the general public typically through some of the big lending institutions and so I actually encourage people to have conversations with brokers just to sort of feel out their options and see what's in front of them and compare that to what some of the bigger institutions are offering you. I think it'll be pretty clear that they'll see the benefit right away and again no don't talk to any broker take my advice and sort of you know do your research on the different brokers again. So, it's obviously a high trust relationship and this is somebody who is going to be helping you navigate one of the biggest transactions of your life. And so again do your due diligence just like you would with any other any other product or service you're looking to acquire or purchase. But yeah, I think that's the biggest takeaway is be open to working with a broker and I think definitely explore that channel if somebody is in the midst of purchasing a home or looking to refinance as well.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah awesome I love that. So, everyone either become your own broker or find or find one that loves you. Exactly. Exactly. I love it. I love it. So, Muhammad to wrap this up we'll be the best way for our listeners and to anybody that's looking to you know find a mortgage brokers what we'll be the best way to either contact you or Moregidge would have been through like email, Snapchat, smoke signal, raven?
Muhammad Rashid: No, we're across all social channels so we're on Twitter, we're on Facebook , We're on Instagram. We're pretty quick to respond that's actually a metric we track our typical response time is within 10 minutes. So, feel free to reach out to us either through our social channels or on our website. Moregidge dot com. I'd be happy to just have a conversation with anybody who is either a broker themselves or a consumer who's actually looking to engage with a mortgage broker we're happy to help anybody navigate those conversations.
Manseeb Khan: Awesome Muhammad thank you so much for sitting down with me today and I am so pleased to have you back on.
Muhammad Rashid: I appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Manseeb Khan: Yeah, no problem.
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End of Podcast
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