70% Growth in 3 Years Powered By
Efficiency with Automation
First Circle Financial’s Success Story
First Circle Financial, established in 1991, is a private lender offering a variety of mortgage products throughout Southwestern British Columbia. First Circle Financial manages two Mortgage Investment Corporations, First Circle MIC and Crown Vista MIC, with assets under administration totaling over $200M.
Stephen Cross, Vice President of Mortgage Lending and Operations at First Circle Financial, told us about their progress with Automator. Stephen is a licensed mortgage broker, holds an MBI certificate, was a 2021 CMP Rising Star, and currently sits as the Co-Regulator Chair on the BC MIC Managers Association Board of Directors.
When Stephen joined the family business, First Circle Financial managed their operations in Word. In addition to driving around and dropping off rate sheets to mortgage brokers, Stephen helped migrate First Circle Financial’s operating data from Word to Excel.
But even in Excel, the manual workload still proved to be extremely time-consuming. First Circle Financial was running ledgers by hand. All pre-authorized debit payments uploaded to their bank were on a spreadsheet that needed to be adjusted each time a new file was funded, renewed, had additional funds advanced, partially paid down, or paid out in full. The company offered both fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages, so payments changed on a month-to-month basis.
All of these tasks resulted in a slower pace and made it more difficult to focus on the growth of the business. It was apparent to Stephen that in order to remain competitive in this time-sensitive industry, they needed to adopt a more efficient way to manage their processes and sustain First Circle Financial’s growth.
Finding an efficient loan management solution
First Circle Financial shopped around for a system to help them achieve their goals. But finding a flexible solution that corresponded to their needs was nearly impossible. The company felt like they had exhausted all their options and were about to build their own system when they were referred to Mortgage Automator.
Mortgage Automator was still in its early days at the time. First Circle Financial trusted MA founders’ vision and became the first BC client in the summer of 2019. As an early adopter, First Circle Financial helped shape the software in its infancy.
With Mortgage Automator, First Circle Financial is now able to have their payments, legal instructions, administration, borrower communications, and many other processes fully automated. They can produce a commitment letter in under 5 minutes, a process that took 30-45 minutes before Automator.
“We weren’t efficient in our turnaround times. It felt like we couldn’t really leave our desks. The space that we’re in, it’s so time-sensitive. The borrowers have gone through their A and B options, and so by the time we get it, the majority of the files are very time-sensitive. The borrowers have already put a lot of time into the files, and it’s nice to be able to provide our brokers with quick turnaround times”, Stephen told us.
When First Circle Financial came on the Mortgage Automator system three years ago, the company had $116M in combined assets under administration. Currently, they manage over $200M, resulting in over 70% growth with the same staff they had in the beginning. Mortgage Automator enabled First Circle Financial to improve and maximize their process efficiencies, setting up a fertile ground for stable growth.