The XBroker: Jeff Corbett (BoomTown)

Roots of The XBroker

The seed was planted two years ago when I decided to reinvent my own mortgage brokerage—a traditional operation on the East Coast. Tired of peddling ‘low rates’ and ‘great service’ while competing with 4000 other mortgage monkeys, I had the ‘novel’ idea of marketing a mortgage business that only tells and sells the truth and provides service for a transparent flat fee.

We would explain how brokers make money, YSP, junk fees, display par rates, etc. I rationalized that if telling ‘The Truth’ differentiates you from 95% of your competition; there is a big problem and thus a big opportunity. Now, don’t mistake me for an innocent broker, my businesses made money doing things the ‘traditional way’; whatever it took to close a deal. If you know who Frank Abingale Jr. is, then you can appreciate the relative value of information I am providing.

Marketing the truth and switching to a transparent flat fee cost policy was going to require us to go as lean as possible because we couldn’t convert with our $40,000/month overhead model, we would lose a lot of money. So first, my partner and I went on a cost cutting frenzy. However, it was not the typical ‘kill the marketing budget, count the paper clips’ squeeze play. Using my network database/IT knowledge and his OCD towards number crunching, we created a digital office where information exchanged hands in seconds rather than hours, days, and weeks, and we didn’t spend $20k on enterprise class IT overkill to do it. We used simple to implement off the shelf technology.

The learning curve for other employees was minimal. We began closing loans with 1/4 of the typical manual labor needs and paid 66% less to obtain a borrower and close their loan. Our efficiency went through the roof. During the first 30 days of fully implementing these changes, we closed less loans and made more profit. The cost of the technology vs. the immediate savings (in time and money) it provided resulted in a better bottom line. It blew my mind too. We were now ready to begin marketing the truth….and this is where things got interesting. Complaints, lawsuits, threats of physical violence, black-balling, extortion (!), etc came barreling through my phone lines and mail boxes….all for telling consumers exactly how mortgage brokers made money, why most had to charge so much, and why we didn’t. This aspect of my business began to consume my day, explaining the what’s, how’s, whys, who’s, when’s, and where’s of the greater mortgage community. I became a daily counselor to previously molested borrowers, knowledge hungry investors, and bitter peers/competition. And so I became The XBroker….closed my brokerage and invested myself into developing a solution for this broken but vital industry.

We made a succinct decision during the very first days of The XBroker, and that was to push the ‘attention’ envelope as far as possible (without breaking the law…this does require an astute understanding of the ambiguous and unregulated mortgage industry). Although the Site reads and looks sensationalistic and thus maybe exaggerated, it’s all ‘disturbingly’ true. Very well funded groups would like nothing more than to slap an injunction on this type of service and would pay through the nose in legal fees to make it happen. Therefore, The XBrokers content must be very true in fact, and keeps our quality of information at a mandatory premium. We still keep our attorneys to carry the big stick just in case…for the (less and less) occasional lawsuit/complaint.
So here we are today, getting closer to launching our Solution (Open Source Automated Underwriting Engine), to deliver everything the ‘beta’ site presently promotes. Direct access to wholesale mortgage rates and pricing, before the broker/banker can manipulate it. A community where the consumer is guaranteed a flat fee and fair deal, while the broker/bankers get an educated, ‘pre-qualified’, ‘pre-sold’, client for life. By removing all of the smoke and mirrors the mortgage origination process can become a fluid, inexpensive process. A true Customer-To-Business model if there ever was one.

In the end, in my mind (of course), the unique search-bridge of vital information and transparent functionality that provides is the only real solution to the predatory, fraudulent, and deception problems currently infecting the mortgage industry. By taking away broker/banker incentive to fee gouge and steer, while providing the needed ‘tools and resources’ to both sides of the transaction, the slash and burned mortgage market is fertile for business again….for those with enough foresight to take advantage of it.

This site is dedicated to all the people who said I couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. Thanks.

The Riot Act.


Comment balloon 2 commentsJeff Corbett • October 10 2006 09:04AM
Roots of The XBroker
The seed was planted two years ago when I decided to reinvent my own mortgage brokerage—a traditional operation on the East Coast. Tired of peddling ‘low rates’ and ‘great service’ while competing with 4000 other mortgage monkeys, I had the ‘novel’… more
Mortgage 2. 0
How come you can call 5 different brokers/bankers on the same day, with the same information, and receive 5 completely different quotes? Good question. All brokers/bankers have access to the same rates and programs; the 5 different quotes represent… more