October 6th, 2020
New Haven Mortgage, Jason Vyner – #AskAPrivateLender Podcast, Ep 5
Welcome to the 5th episode of the #AskAPrivateLender Podcast brought to you by Mortgage Automator. In this episode, we got to talk to one of the people who were in the private lending industry before there was an industry. Jason Vyner, President, CEO & Co-Founder of New Haven Mortgage Corporation started in the business in 1983. So he has some stories to share!
We talked about lending in the 90s’, the previous market downturns and how they compare to the present day, how New Haven continues to maintain its competitive advantage over the decades, how they are dealing with the current crisis, how they choose their deals, and so much more!
Listen, watch, or read the interview below. And stay tuned for more episodes coming up!
Lawrence: Tell us about how you got involved in the private mortgage business. I would assume that when you originally started out, it was a much different industry. It’s not something that everyone knew about, that everyone invested in. You’re probably one of the pioneers in the industry. How did you come up with the idea? How did you get involved?
Jason: I don’t know if a lot of you know the history of New Haven Mortgage. My brother was the actual founder in 1981. We were called First Place Financial at the time, and there were licensing issues, so we evolved into New Haven Mortgage. And when I say issues, it was just a transformation from First Place Financial to New Haven Mortgage in 1994. But my brother started in 1981, and I joined in 1983.
We evolved from just being an agent and brokerage into an equity lender. Since that time, we’ve taken a lot of knocks and hits in the face, understanding the different markets from the last three or four decades, which has really evolved to where we are today. It was a long ride, and I’m happy to say that we’re in a very comfortable place right now.
Joseph: You started such a long time ago, and you’ve actually gone through all the different stages of the ups and downs that we’re familiar with. Lawrence and I, being a little bit younger, we don’t recall the 90’s. We’ve seen 08′, we’ve seen 17′, with the crazy spike and then the downturn. How were the 90’s when you were lending money privately? I want to hear about this because that’s something that we never really got an understanding of.
Jason: We grow experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly. In 1989, the recession hit hard, but we didn’t realize the effects until 1990, which is comparable today to our Covid situation. We just don’t know where we’re going. We’re fearing for the worst and hoping for the best. Meaning that I don’t think that it’s taking its toll right now, Covid. People are relying on CERB and savings, and those are going to run out. And my fear is in the next few months ahead, it’s exactly what happened in the nineties. It stagnated for the next three or four years thereafter.
Equity positions came down quite a considerable amount, when a house was worth a million dollars, back down to $750,000, there was no room for refinancing. The deals were very few and far between and selective. It was quite a five year period, unless you sustained lower volumes, and understood that the market is cyclical and historically would rebound. It eventually did, and we’ve been motoring along very nicely from the next 15 years on. And here we are today with a major wall in front of us.
Joseph: I know the interest rates that private lenders charge today. 10%-12% for your typical second mortgage. Eight to nine and a half on your first. Maybe a little bit lower depending on loan-to-value. We also knew what banks charged back in the ’90s for interest rates. What were private mortgages charging back in the day?
Jason: Oh wow, we saw first mortgages from 12 to 14%, one-year terms with two, three, four-point lenders fees. And forget about brokerage involved. The bank rates at one time or another, if I remember correctly, were 11-12% on one-year terms. These days, we’ve been pretty consistent with our rates, and we’ve just actually moved our rates down considerably from our matrix standpoint. No more “froms” and approximates. We’re really targeting bank posting rates so the brokers can navigate with their borrowers prior to a deal coming in, not after. If you quote somebody 8.2% and all of a sudden it’s 9.3%, that’s not a very good taste in everybody’s mouth.
So, it was a wild, wild West back in the nineties. Everybody was charging what they could get. Today, in this competitive world, and rightfully so, I think interest rates have been moderately coming down because of the competition, which is good for the industry, from the borrower’s aspect. And, as long as we all play nice in the sandbox, I think if we can maintain this lower interest model, the affordability will be there, especially with the months coming ahead of us in Covid times.
Lawrence: With the amount of competition now, it seems like everyone and their mother is a private lender today. You have a couple hundred thousand dollars in the bank. You’re going to lend it out. Maybe you don’t even know what you’re lending it out on, but you’re doing it because it’s popular.
Touching on what you were saying previously, that you think that we’re not there in terms of what’s going to happen with Covid. Potentially prices will be going down in the future. Are you worried about these people jumping into a space where maybe they don’t have the expertise and that track record that someone like you has? Are you worried they don’t know what they’re doing?
Jason: Absolutely. I’ve recently experienced a private lender that came behind New Haven Mortgage, on a second mortgage up to 90%. And this was back in 2017, where people were purchasing properties, let’s say, for a half a million dollars and new builds. And by the time 2017 came along, their property, before they closed, is now worth $800,000. So people were taking out $600,000 first mortgages. Only 75%, but 110% or 120% of the actual purchase price. So the borrowers already hit the 649 [the lottery] and no skin in the game.
What happened in this particular situation was the exact same scenario. Escalated prices, somebody came in on the new value, today’s value, as opposed to the purchase value, and lent 90%. But this private individual had four mortgages of $100,000 in their small little portfolio, and everything was going good until it went bad. Until the client or the borrower could not pay, and they were bouncing checks left, right and center, went power of sale and had to keep us, New Haven Mortgage, current, as a second mortgagee’s responsibility is.
Unfortunately, he had no idea, the second mortgagee, that he had to keep us current. He didn’t understand that in order to take control of the deal, he would either keep us current or pay us out in its entirety to offset any interest rates and or legal costs involved in the transaction. What New Haven Mortgage did there was we understood the poor second mortgagee’s position, believe it or not. We reduced our 7.99% to 3.99% because we played nice in the sandbox. We did the power of sale scenario. We allowed him in the property to renovate, to get the values back up to where it should be. It was actually a very successful story. He only lost a minimal amount of money. He could have lost it all.
Being a mortgage lender, especially a private mortgage lender, unfortunately, they look at the price tag, the returns, the 8, 9, 10, 11% returns, especially if they’re in the second mortgage, but don’t understand the responsibilities of a second mortgage, and that they don’t understand that if there’s a loss, they get hit first, not a good equity position.
Joseph: When it was back in the eighties, early nineties, you guys were probably one of the only guys doing it, and a few other people that we know. What do you think was the turning point in the industry? When did you feel like there was that line that said ‘wow, private lending’s a good business, we should all start getting into it.’
Because I’ve been in the business myself for 16 years now, and I remember you guys. You probably don’t remember me back then, but I sent you and your brother a deal back in the day, as a mortgage broker. Now, I’ve been in the private business myself for eight years, but I’ve also seen a lot of transitions as a broker. When did you feel, as a private, that you saw the tipping point or the change?
Jason: It was one of our trade shows where I walked in after the setup and stopped dead in my tracks. The trade show consisted of three times, maybe even up to four times as many mom and pop private investors, MICs that just came out of nowhere. The competition did become fierce.
Unfortunately because of the competition, and the lack of compliance in the industry, I’ve been finding that a lot of the private lenders out there are not playing nice in the sandbox. And what I mean by that is a little bit of a bait and switch. I’m not targeting any one individual, but I’ve seen a lot of “froms” and approximates in pricing and fees.
I don’t mind the competition. Competition is healthy. Competition allows for rates to be adjusted so there’s a fair shake. So we kind of tooted our own horn, so to speak, in the eighties and nineties because the competition wasn’t out there. It was a case by case, a rare situation, and we pegged our own interest rate without any resistance whatsoever.
Joseph: If you had money and someone was willing to write the deal, they were already happy. Now it’s a different environment.
Lawrence: I wasn’t in the industry even as far back as Joe. I remember Joe as a broker would tell me, I can get this guy a bank mortgage, 550 credit score, 95% loan-to-value from the bank. If he can get that done as a broker, what was left for a private mortgage lender back then? When the bank is writing everything, and they’re aggressive, what is the private mortgage lender getting? Was it a different type of business back then, as opposed to today, or?
Jason: Years ago, Central Guaranty Trust, Security Trust, Shoppers, they were all basically equity lenders at the time. For compliance purposes, they had to document their files. Self-employed income statements, credit bureaus were at 550, no problem. Their pricing had adjusted back then, and so did their fee mechanisms.
So, really no different than where we kind of are today in the space. As New Haven Mortgage is truly an equity lender, we will take a peek at an income or credit scenario, but that’s not the weight. It’s all about marketability for us. I kind of look at each deal, if the client is not going to make their first payment, which is the bottom line, how do we get out? What’s our exit strategy? And that comes from locations…
Marketability is the name of the game. So, the keen eye is really concentrated on different areas, geographical areas in Ontario, especially New Haven. I’ll take a Kitchener property, let’s say, of 750,000 dollars. I’ll easily go to 80% on that product. However, a 1.5 million dollar property in Kitchener is a lot different than a 1.5 million dollar property in Toronto. So, our equity, our position will scale back. I will not go 80 percent. Maybe on a purchase.
They’re putting cash in, skin in the game, there’s no VTVs or second mortgages behind us. They truly have money to put down on a purchase, they truly understood the terms and conditions that they’re getting into. They understand they’re paying 7% as opposed to 2%. Five percent difference on, let’s say, a million dollars is 50,000 dollars difference in interest, oh my.
However, the person that’s applying, maybe making a half a million dollars in cash in their business. They’re not paying the government 250,000 dollars in income tax. Therefore, their net savings, instead of paying the government, is now $200,000, by paying $50,000 more in their mortgage.
So, there’s a story behind the lending, which is also really important to us. To navigate through sustainability, and hopefully, that there is an exit strategy by refinancing at the end of our term and hoping that the brokers will navigate their borrower to the B space, and move him up the stepping ladder, so to speak. It’s similar. It’s very cyclical. It’s the same patterns that have gone on from decade to decade, just in a different format, as stress tests evolved and everything else.
Joseph: Yeah, back in the day Home Trust, Maple Trust, those guys would be able to write you a deal at 4-5%, maybe 5.5%, with a slightly bruised credit score and a story. Whereas today, there are some privates out there that are potentially writing stuff in the 5-6.5% range.
Lawrence: I think to Jason’s point, what he was trying to say is, it’s a lot of advertising. It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors, where people are coming out saying 5.1%, 6.1%. Maybe there’s a price on the way in, there’s a price on the way out. There are all sorts of fees and things attached.
Joseph: There’s a small print in the writing. You need to have triple-A credit. It needs to be 30% loan-to-value, and you have to give up your only child. I get it.
Lawrence: It sets a false expectation for brokers and borrowers to think that this stuff is actually available to them. And then they go to this so-called company or companies that are advertising this. They don’t get what they want. And then they go to New Haven. They say, “I can get it for that price over here”. And I guess the answer is, “Well, why aren’t you going there?”
Jason: Perfectly put. Then you should go there. But produce a commitment to me, and then we’ll either match or better it, as the competition has it. But there’s a bottom line here. Know your lender. It’s the bottom line. Know the provisions within the mortgage. Know what your borrower is getting into, NSF fee charges, enforcement charges, proceedings, and what have you.
Know your investor, even with renewal fees, I’ve seen a lot of different types of renewal fees and origination fees of, let’s say, 2%, only to now charge 3-4%.
I’ll give you an example. I did not fund a deal last month. There was a 60,000 dollar mortgage that was to be paid off. Do you have any idea what the discharge statement said? $142,000! Now, my math might be a little off. There were 80,000 dollars in power of sale fees, $200 day-inspection fees, $3,000 administration fees. There was a list as long as my arm and then some. And I refused to fund that deal, only to put the borrower into a further debt. And surprisingly enough, the independent legal representative was representing them and neve said “boo”.
Joseph: Obviously, in the private space, there’s a lot of relationship building. You’re sending business, more or less, to one or two of your main lenders first because you want to continue to establish that relationship. But then, those lenders are obviously not taking advantage of your clients when things go bad. The question now becomes though, does the ILR (independent legal representation) at some point have a fiduciary obligation to their client, who they’re representing? Say, “By the way, you realize if you screw up, you’re going to be paying out of your nose for this”.
Jason: That is exactly why they are there. That is exactly why even the rules say, from a mixed standpoint, or a lender’s standpoint, any loan under 50,000 dollars, all you need is one lawyer to act for both sides.
I believe that there’s a very true conflict of interest. A lawyer that’s acting for a lender is acting for the lender to make sure the T’s are crossed, I’s are dotted, and is exactly doing what they’re supposed to do, making sure the lender is protected. Once they take on the obligation to act for the borrower, there is a fine line of conflict that can arise. That if our lawyer, acting for New Haven Mortgage, doesn’t tell the borrower, “By the way, if you don’t do this, or do this, or don’t do this, this is what can happen”, and they fail to do so, the fingers are going to start pointing each and every way.
I believe that the independent legal representation has a duty to protect their borrower from entering into a mortgage agreement that could be predatory, and or heavily weighted on the consideration that the borrower’s going to bounce a cheque, and this is what’s going to happen.
So, when someone bounces a 250$ mortgage cheque, and their fees are a thousand dollars, a demand letter, and what have you, there’s a real problem there, and that should be notified to the borrower. It should be properly weighed out. You realize, even by accident, you bounce a cheque, not on purpose because you can’t afford it, but by accident, these are the repercussions.
And I think, know your lender. Diving into the provisions is the broker agent’s responsibility, prior to even going to a lawyer. Because if they’re doing their due diligence, and it does get to a lawyer, it’s an easy close. There’s nothing really to talk about.
Joseph: Yeah because, especially in today’s world with social media, and all the Facebook groups and everything else, it’s not hard to know what everyone’s doing. Everyone talks. It’s an open market. You can have your opinion about anyone specific, you can voice your opinion through any forum or board or web, whatever it is. You would think that the brokers would know what the lenders are doing after deals go bad.
Jason: However, the broker is now pointed at. It’s really the brokerages that get pointed at. How could you put me into a deal like that, knowing what you should have known?
Joseph: Right, because that’s an individual that you personally selected to lend them money. You knew what he was about. There’s no surprise.
Jason: Who’s responsible when my lawyer is slow? New Haven Mortgage, not my lawyer. Who’s responsible for setting them up with an appraiser that comes in and low balls, let’s just say? New Haven.
So, it all stems back to know your lender. And I believe, if the brokers and agents out there are doing their due diligence and looking for the best possible deal for their client, they will watch where they put their money.
It’s a real sore right now, and this is where the ‘new’ New Haven Mortgage comes in. Fixed renewal fees, not wondering what they’re going to be a year from now, but in our contract, say this is specifically what your renewal fee will be if you don’t pay us out. And will it capitalize or move over a year term, pay in installments, or upfront. At least they know what they’re getting into.
Lawrence: Knowing your lender is an important thing. Let’s talk about New Haven. What you’re doing, what you’re lending on, some of your policies and procedures so that if they’re going to call you with a deal, they know what to expect.
Jason: We’ve heard the cries throughout the years. It’s not as easy as turning on a light switch to change. Revenue streams come from different avenues within the mortgage lending business, including NSF fees, and what have you, enforcement, very transparent. It is what it is. There’s work to be done behind the scenes that nobody understands.
However, moving forward, and as I mentioned before, we’ve diagnosed about 10 or 12 other people playing in our space. And if you compare our new provisions that have been instituted in the last six months, especially when Covid hit. It was even more of a reason to move it forward quickly. Our provisions are probably one of the best borrower retention provisions out there, from NSFs to enforcement.
If people don’t want to help themselves, we can’t help them. We get it. But from a Covid standpoint, and from our first wave of deferrals, which was probably about 40 to 60 mortgages that came in for deferrals, we work with these clients. The client that had an $800,000 first mortgage on a three million dollar value, they weren’t a candidate for a deferral because they could have taken 50,000 dollars from their equity and pre-paid their mortgage and help them out. Once they knocked on our door, and we provided that information or told them, “Listen, whatever you’re going to tell us, please back up your story if you lost your job.” And they continued to pay.
I think everybody really got nervous. What’s going to happen? Let’s take advantage. Even myself, no more redemptions, distribution’s frozen, and I, too, panicked until I sat back in a 24-hour rule that I always tell my staff, “Just take a deep breath, 24 hours, you’ll have a clearer mind on how to navigate through these problems.”
So from that point on, we realized that playing, accommodating and working with clients, the ones especially that had, let’s say, he was a painter, or she was a painter or school teachers, and they gave us a note to say that they were laid off, and 50% of their income was actually affected. We work with the client and reduce the mortgage payment by 50%. Maybe not the full thing. And they went “Wow, thank you very much.”
We capitalize without pressure being put in that you have to owe us that money. And I think that really propelled me into the ‘new’ New Haven. It works much better working with people than against people.
Lawrence: So deferral wise, you said you were hit with about 40, 50, maybe 60 people asking for deferrals. That was, I want to say in March if my memory serves me?
Jason: April-ish. April.
Lawrence: So now we’re well into September. What’s happened with those specific clients?
Jason: Whoever does come in now, I think it’s all smoothed out. We’re back to about 2.5-3%, whether it be deferral or NSF, it’s still a mortgage that’s impaired. So, regardless of the category, we’re right back where we were pre-Covid, at around 2.5% NSF on our portfolio, which is magnificent. Even the trust companies try to sustain that level. We also encourage the borrowers to talk to us. Just let us know what’s happening in your life and we’ll work with you. We don’t want to send a power of sale letter. It serves us no good. It only makes our lawyers rich, not New Haven, at the end of the day.
And we’re common folk, and everybody needs to be treated as an equal, and we’re really navigating that way. Make no mistake, guys, we were one of the other parties pre-Covid. We learn by mistakes. We learn by hearing the brokerage saying “Well, you’re too expensive here, and how come you never gave them a chance here.” So we really softened the criteria within, and it’s really working out for us in a big, big way.
Lawrence: And you have a MIC, you also do some syndicated lending, as well?
Lawrence: And with the ‘new’ New Haven that you refer to, are your syndicated investors receiving less of a return than they’re used to? And, it’s the new world, prices are going down anyway…
Jason: It’s more competitive for sure.
Lawrence: Yeah, there’s more competition, and I’m sure that some of your investors, who said “Hey, I want X”, they’re now happy to take Y because they see that business isn’t what it once was. What is their view on things?
Jason: What happened was, it’s all about transparency. Letting them in on what is going on from a competition standpoint to what’s happening with Covid. And retaining good clients, and for the most part, I believe 99% of our portfolio, whether it be MIC investors and or the syndicates, understood why their returns had to come down.
Because to be competitive in the market, and let’s say, for instance, the syndicated guy only had a million dollars, and I couldn’t put out his money. Just like with the MIC, and I’m sitting there with 100 million dollars, let’s just say, for a round figure, and I can’t get out 25 million dollars of that money because my pricing is too high. My heels are going to be completely stripped down.
So if I was getting 7.5-8% in the MIC, without that money being distributed out into the mortgage portfolio, yields will come down to six and three quarters, even seven percent. And we didn’t want that fluctuation. Ten years having a MIC, we’ve always been constant, until recently, until Covid, until the competition. So it was really important for us to convey the message and have our investors understand the competition and stripping of your yields if your money is not deployed.
And they worked with us. They understood, and we had nobody pull out because their yields weren’t being high enough. My exit strategy has always been, when we sign up our investors, is the following, “Guys, at the end of the day, if the world collapses, and my weighted average is a 66% loan-to-value, and prices plummeted by 40%, why would I go and kick somebody out of their house because they’re not making their payments, and lose 20 cents on the dollar? Keep them in their house. Historically, cyclically, the market will change, whether it be a year, two, or three. So what, Mr. and Mrs. Investor, you’ll make 2% on your money. Keep them in their house, until such time that the appreciation will come back to normal, and you’ll get your principal out.”
Hence, the preservation of capital. That’s the name of the game. It really was a sales kind of wording that was in the industry everywhere. But it’s really important to understand that preservation of capital is the bottom line, if something happens such as Covid, if prices plummeted.
See, my fear right now is not what’s happening now, and let’s take 1989,1990, 1991, where it filtered out and everybody’s sitting on the sidelines and thinking what’s going to happen with the market. My fear is that savings and CERB is going to run out. What’s going to happen to the market and the people in two to three or four or five months from now? And that’s where today’s navigation is very, very important. Understanding a game plan on both the lender’s side and the borrower’s side, and appease all sides to make the transition or the transactions healthy and sustainable.
Lawrence: That makes perfect sense. I always tell Joe, when he got me into the mortgage business, I was shocked at the returns that people got for investing in mortgages. Because I saw it as such a conservative investment. You have a property. I can drive by the property. I can touch the property. I know what the value is.
And I’m investing in this property, in this family, or however you want to put it, but I always felt the returns were out of whack with the actual risk that we’re taking. I assume you being in the industry feel the same way. If an investor was to come to you and say, “Hey, I have a million dollars. I want to invest in your MIC.” What do you prepare them for, in terms of returns?
Jason: Exactly what the returns are, and exactly the message that I have to convey to them. If you want your million dollars out, you want safe mortgages, risk and reward… It’s funny how the Ontario Securities Commission label mortgages investments. Whether it’s a 30% loan-to-value or a 90% loan-to-value, it’s a high-risk investment.
Lawrence: They’re all in the same bucket.
Jason: Same bucket, high risk. It’s predicated on risk and reward to a degree, and everybody in today’s society is not looking for risk. The mortgage investment portfolio should be made up of put away money, thank you very much. You want to play with your stock money, take 10 percent of your portfolio. Absolutely. Take a shot. Hit a home run. This is a single sitting. This is getting on base. This is a savings account that should sustain all sorts of blips into the market. They’re sold on that. It’s very simple.
Lawrence: Slow and steady wins the race. And the compounding. Put that money back in and back in.
Joseph: Don’t spend it. Just keep reinvesting it.
Jason: And we love that happy story of where our borrowers are being discharged by our brokers who submitted the deal to get them to the trust companies or to the alternative guys. Why not? Absolutely. It’s a win-win-win for everybody.
The problem that I find in our portfolio is the brokers are not as involved as they should be at maturity. They disappear. It’s another book of business. Equifax has come out with pinpointers. We’re educating our brokers now, showing the Equifax, if this was an R9, how to fix it quickly so their beacon all of a sudden comes from a 570 to a 670, overnight by a couple of tweaks. That was all that was missing. But yet, we sent out an auto-renewal. We don’t look at that because we’re not brokers.
We’re not taking the broker’s clients and submitting to a B institution and making a revenue for us. That’s not the way we work. But it’s really unfortunate that there’s a lot of agents that do not look at that, that help the borrower out. It seems like they’re just looking for that commission at the front end without understanding how you could succeed on all ends.
Lawrence: What do you prefer? Do you prefer writing a lot of smaller size deals?
Jason: No, no. We have a 4.4 million dollar loan in our portfolio, but it’s based on four or five different properties as collateral. The higher-end properties, I won’t do a four million dollar property on, let’s say, Forest Hill or a Bridal Path property worth seven million. It’s about marketability. Who’s buying that property? You can wait for a year. We’re looking for marketable properties. The appraisals are indicative of three days to 30 or 40 or 50-day turnovers. The rural route is a little longer, normally. But then again, our LTVs may be cut back a smidgen because of the marketability.
Lawrence: What about location wise? Where are you guys?
Jason: Location, we’re all Ontario. We do all the little towns out there, the rural settings. And no disrespect to North Bay, but if we have to go another two hours north of North Bay, there’s a little bit of a location problem there. We don’t like the appraisers to get on their dogsled and get out there to do the appraisal, and then come back to civilization.
So, for the most part, we love the 10-kilometer, 20-kilometer picket fence idea, 20 minutes to amenities. But, for the most part, we love the cottage product now. Why? Because of travel, Covid. The new spike in cottages that we’re seeing, especially the $300,000 to $500,000. We love that because we know that they’re marketable out there. Our appraisals are subject to five acres, and no outbuildings. But, for the most part, we love a good rural property, definitely.
Lawrence: That’s good to know because there’s a handful of lenders that won’t even go there. So, if you’re a broker listening and you have a deal, smaller town, Ontario, good loan to value—New Haven could be a good option for you guys. Who do they reach out to? If someone had a deal and maybe they’ve never dealt with you before, how should they contact you?
Jason: You can reach out to either Lauren Chappell and or Kim Freeman, and they’ll be more than happy to assist you in any of your inquiries. You don’t have to send in a deal and wait an hour to four hours, or two days to get an answer. We’re going to tell you, yes we can do this deal, subject to, obviously, appraisals and underwriting, without looking at income or credit.
Joseph: And you guys, obviously, can be found on the drop-down of Filogix and Lendesk now, as well.
Jason: Absolutely. There was a myth out there, Joseph. Funny because we were listed as a co-broker. And the myth was that we co-brokered our deals. We were a broker co-brokering deals. The reason for that was we controlled the borrowers’ disclosure, as well as our commitment. We could not do that. And what we found was, because we still have our brokerage license and our administrations license, and MIC, we controlled the quality of the compliance within the borrower’s disclosure. That was the only reason why we were on the co-broker base, but I believe we’re on lender base now.
Joseph: Yeah, you’re part of the drop-down menu. Brokers can find you there. Click a button, submit the deal, and you guys will get it digitally on your end.
Lawrence: It’s funny. Every time I talk to you, I feel like you love the business. You love the action.
Joseph: You can tell, Jason is very passionate about it. You can see it in his eyes.
Jason: I do have a lot of sleepless nights. I’m up at 5:10 in the morning with the birds, and it’s stressful like any business. Any business has its stress points. I don’t care what industry you’re in. This is all I know. I’m looking to better the industry, as well as New Haven Mortgage and its product, and it’s taken a while, but I think we’re there.
We just launched a new elite program to 10 brokers from a volume bonus to automatic trailer fees. We will be posting our matrix with specific pricing indicators and fees. No more “froms” and approximates. The elite program will allow the broker that signed up that can show us their book of business, sustain only 12 deals a year, half point off of matrix posted fees, so there’s a lot of great perks, involving open privileges and more. All dedicated to the broker and borrower.
Lawrence: You’re a pioneer in the industry. It sounds like you’re trying to go down a different path here, and I’m sure that there’s going to be a lot of companies keeping a close eye on what you’re doing because coming out with such great ideas, I’m sure they’re going to want to jump into that same pool with you.
Jason: There’s no lender out there that has all the different variables which I just talked about. Some do have a trailer fee. Some have smaller renewal fees and what have you. But nobody has encompassed everything that we’re moving forward to in this elite program.
So, we’re really tailored to the passionate broker as well, to align their vision with New Haven Mortgage, as we move through. It is exciting. I never realized it was exciting. It thought it was very stressful up until this point, but yeah, it is very exciting.
I just want to mention, we talk about mentorship and vision and mission, and my brother, as many of you know, had passed away about four years ago, untimely, at a young age. And his vision and mission was the same as mine. I’ve just taken it from my brother and our look at the mortgage industry, and step back. I think I’ve had a different view, looking at all sides of my business and working through the last four years to come up where we have come today. It took a little longer. I had to reinvent my life, in the business world, without my brother at my side. We’re getting there. We’re definitely getting there.
Lawrence: Yeah, I didn’t bring it up. I know you started the business with your brother. When he passed, were you lost there for a little bit in the office? Because I’m sure he dealt with half and you dealt with half, and now you’ve got to deal with everything. Brokers are still expecting the same service. Investors are still expecting the same service. I’m sure it was just completely overwhelming for you.
Jason: You never listen when talked to sometimes, as a younger brother. But everything that my brother had resonated and talked about really came to the top. It really resonated with me. What would my brother do here? What would we do here? I’ve really fused that with the new beginning back four years ago where I really listened to him. I heard 30 odd years resonating in the back of my mind.
And because of his mentorship and our entrusted partnership, with him or without him, I think we really got to where we are today. So yeah, it was very difficult to get through a lot of… Even reconfiguring his office to six stations. He had the bigger office, bigger brother, and everything else. And I didn’t mind. And yeah, just the changes in life are very difficult, but we’re all programmed to endure change, whether good or bad. And change is difficult for us human beings, so yes it was difficult. But like everybody, we got through it. I got through it. And I surround myself with very smart people, including you two guys.
That’s what attracted me to Mortgage Automator. Your vision, your mission, your understanding of the mortgage business really opened my eyes to technology and efficiency. Technology is very crucial, I’ve seen a lot of programs out there… But to see Mortgage Automator’s vision, and the support of New Haven and others, feeding you very strategic information that needs to be put on your system. I’m just amazed how far you guys have come in such a short period of time.
You told me several months ago, you had a handful of employees. Now you’re up to 20 tech guys and moving through. You’re not stagnant. You guys are moving through things in the industry. That’s really important to the development of lenders, and especially equity lenders.
The banks have their JTS, TDS, you press a button, everything spells out for you. The complexities of private lending and your understanding of such is a real good fit. There’s nobody out there that I’ve seen, and we’ve explored a lot of software programs, have come close to what you guys are producing and will produce in the future. So kudos to Mortgage Automator.
Lawrence: We really appreciate the kind words.
Joseph: Thank you, Jason.
Lawrence: And just to touch on that, I don’t think anyone knows everything. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. It doesn’t matter how big of a player you are. Nobody knows everything. That’s one thing that I pride myself on is that we want to listen. We want to listen to all of our clients because everyone has a great idea. The number of staff members that we have now, yes, surpassing 20. We have these people so that we can implement the changes that our customers want and expect. And we feel like if we make these changes at a quicker pace, that’s what it’s all about.
Jason: You guys are doers. When we ask you for a change in your program or insight, that is acted upon immediately, whether it be from a New Haven Mortgage personal request, or it’s overlapping the industry. As it will, you guys act upon that immediately. So, that’s where you guys are moving forward at a quick pace but at a very specific and efficient pace. I love what you guys are doing. I see your feedback to the industry of here’s where we are now. Here are the changes. And letting everybody know. It’s fueling the fire for more ideas. You guys are doing a really good job.
Joseph: We do absolutely value every single one of our customers. Originally the slogan was ‘built for lenders by lenders’ because the thought process was that Lawrence and I are lenders. But the true statement now, if you think about it, we do ask for feedback from people like yourself and all of our other clients. It is a true testament to what the software has become, which is, it was built for lenders by all the existing lenders and all the clients that have had some say and some capacity to what we do next with the product. So we do appreciate your support from the beginning and obviously continuing on.
Jason: It’s okay. I’ll invoice you later, gentlemen, don’t worry (laughs).
Lawrence: No problem, appreciate it. So yeah, Jason Vyner, President, CEO, Co/Founder of New Haven Mortgage Corporation. If you have a deal, if you haven’t tried them out, send them a file. I mean, send them one doable file, something they can actually say yes to, so you can see their process, you can see how they work. Like Jason said, there’s a ‘new’ New Haven. So experience the change.
Jason: Flexibility, guys. It’s not engraved in stone. We’ll be as flexible and accommodating as we can. We listen. Thank you guys very much.