By Ira Zlotowitz
Eastern Union Funding
Eastern Union Funding, one of the nation’s leading commercial real estate mortgage brokerages, is closing in on a record-breaking year of nearly $4 billion in lending transactions, thanks in large part to our commitment to bringing technological advancements to our brokers and our clients as part of a Triple Crown approach to investment in our people, our relationships and data/technology.
Expanding investment in technology helps mortgage brokers, bankers and clients streamline the lending process and gain access to up to the minute data.
Because of that, we need to stay even further ahead of the curve in our technological advancements. This investment has increased deal flow substantially, enabling Eastern to increase market share as more of our competitors remain in the stone age.
I firmly believe that if I help sales brokers be successful in their business through providing access to data and technology for free, that he or she will help us in the future. I live by the motto, “live for today, without sacrificing tomorrow.”
When I first started building out these expert departments and the technology, I started with steps that would certainly help everybody. I’m very into data analytics, so I track every deal the company makes, and who’s the best out of every department. I use this data as a teaching thing, and that’s one place where we keep getting better.
At the same time, we help brokers to spend less time on opportunities that don’t come through, because they have better support and technology helping them. The brokers now have more time available to them, so they can now bring in 13 opportunities instead of 10. The net result is that he will double his production working the same number of hours.
Eastern Union Funding’s decision to double down on our investment in technology, data management and back office operations was the best decision we made in 2017. These investments helped us break the $3.5 billion mark in commercial lending transactions for the third year in a row, and we are well on our way to topping $4 billion by year-end, making 2017 our best year ever.
With the establishment of our highly successful Affiliate Broker Division in late September and our Affiliate Buyer Division in November, we are hoping to double our volume in 2018.
Our continued investment in data collection and technology has helped each Eastern broker get to know each lender better, and this intelligence has provided them with additional tools to place deals.
Our exclusive commercial sales broker application topped 10,000 downloads in 2017, offering participating brokers access to loan calculators, comps and rates at their fingertips.
In addition, our new Affiliate Broker Division, which has signed up more than 1,500 brokers at more than 600 firms in just a few months, offers participating brokers direct access to real-time financing intelligence for debt and equity through Eastern Union’s Quotes and Term Sheets (QTS) banking department.
This enables brokers to present potential sales to clients with all their financing information needed in place.
The expansion of our QTS Banking Division was another driving force of our success in 2017. To meet surging demand and assure the best service in the industry, Eastern funnels deals through this one-of-a-kind Division, guaranteeing clients the best terms by having the QTS team initially process and follow-up on every deal, thereby advising lenders by knowing the appetites of every bank brokers deal with company-wide.
They say that many people in real estate play a herd mentality. I would rather try to be innovative and ahead of the curb, and try to lead. Sometimes you lead too far in advance, and then you turn around and no one’s behind you.
Technology wise, we spent money and overbuilt on technology years ago, and the market wasn’t ripe for it. We built an app several years ago when you weren’t able to get enough speed on your phone to use it and people didn’t have unlimited data. Today, it caught up to us, in that we had the whole foundation built. Now we’re able to dust off some of the things we did in the past and utilize them.
Business is going very well. It was a great year. As a firm, we made heavy investments into better people, better relationships, data and technology.
I think we’ve perfected the art of melding all three into one nice symphony – a Triple Crown of achievements that has resulted in improved results across every platform within the company.