A newly-established Windsor-based digital mortgage company is utilizing innovative technology and working in conjunction with real estate industry partners to provide online services to clients seeking to refinance their existing mortgages or buy and sell homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Edison Financial recently received a mortgage brokerage license in Ontario and has established a Windsor office at 156 Chatham Street West.
Edison occupies space in Quicken’s Rocket Innovation Studio.
Re-launched by Hash Aboulhosn, a former chief financial officer for Lendesk Technologies, the company has received seed financing from Rock Holdings Inc., the parent company of Quicken Loans, the largest mortgage lender in the United States.
“During the past year at Lendesk, I have witnessed first-hand the power and capability of the company’s innovative technology platform to transform the mortgage experience for brokers and their clients,” said Aboulhosn. “The power of innovation, paired with what I’ve learned about building strong entrepreneurial cultures from Quicken Loans, helped reignite my passion for building Edison Financial into something amazing in Canada.”
Aboulhosn first established Edison in 2017 before winding it down a year later. It has now been re-booted and is ready to serve clients.
“We are capitalizing on the trend towards digital-first mortgage brokerage services,” said Aboulhosn. “We chose to open in Windsor so that we can focus on Ontario as the largest market in Canada.
“We believe Windsor has an amazing talent pool and strong work ethic which we are excited to be part of,” he added.
Chad Weinbaum, CRO of Edison Financial, admits that starting a new business in the midst of a global health crisis has not been ideal but because of the company’s ability to work remotely it has allowed Edison to adapt quickly to the changing situation.
“People are undergoing life-changing experiences right now because of what is going on in the world,” said Weinbaum. “They are feeling all kinds of pressures and we want to be there to alleviate some of those pressures by providing valuable assistance with their mortgage.
“We are going to grow and create more jobs in the Windsor area.”
Aboulhosn said he expects Edison will have 40 team members by the end of 2020 and plans on tripling the growth by the end of 2021. The vast majority of new hires will be mortgage agents with the remainder being software developers, processors, underwriters and office staff.
“We are going to grow and create more jobs in the Windsor area.” said Aboulhosn. “Our goal is to help re-energize the downtown core with the power of our success.”
But the company also realizes it’s a sensitive time to be launching a new business venture.
Bekim Merdita, Edison’s vice-president of market development, said the company is walking a fine line between celebrating its opening while remaining sensitive to the fact that many Canadians are struggling given the current financial climate.
“Our goal is to help Canadians manage one of their most valuable assets which becomes even more important in times like this,” said Merdita. “We feel fortunate we can be here to help.”
“With few people currently able to visit banking institutions in person, the fact that Edison offers its services online makes the company an even more attractive alternative,” added Merdita. “This is a glimpse into the future of mortgages and banking.”
New team members will undergo a virtual training program which has been expedited to support Edison’s aggressive growth goals, according to mortgage agent Joe Markham.
The current crisis has changed the way people buy and sell homes.
Real estate agents are limiting viewings to one or two people and providing buyers with videos shot by homeowners showing various parts of the house. They’re also using property walk-arounds and videos of adjacent homes and neighborhoods shot by drones.
In addition, lawyers are conducting remote signings and closings utilizing video verification tools.
“This crisis, sad though it is, is allowing companies like ours to provide a different kind of experience to our clients while staying in the comfort of their own homes,” said Markham. “It is also forcing companies to find new and innovative ways to better serve their clients using new processes and technologies.”
Edison is working with its real estate, banking and legal partners to provide all the services clients need as they navigate through the process of buying and selling homes by using new technology such as Lendesk Submit as a submission tool.
Edison is confident that its business platform is built to withstand this market and enhance the mortgage experience for Canadian consumers for years to come.