Paradigm Quest is an innovative, flexible and leading-edge Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider. The company is setting a new precedent in the Canadian mortgage landscape and the customers they serve as the fastest growing mortgage servicing company in Canada’s history.
One advantage of outsourcing is to allow companies to remain focused on their core competencies while increasing the efficiencies of its business processes.
Outsourcing is not a new idea in Canada, with nearly $15 billion of business being outsourced from Canada in the IT industry alone in 2010 according to IDC Canada. Nevertheless, the mortgage lending industry had not availed itself en masse to the idea, causing Paradigm Quest Founding President and CEO Kathy Gregory to take notice.
The privately-held Canadian success story approached the financial services sector with an initial focus on the mortgage lending industry, providing outsourced adjudication, fulfillment, closing, servicing and reporting of residential mortgages on behalf of lenders operating in the Canadian marketplace.
"My sense was that the Canadian mortgage industry hadn’t taken full advantage of the technology and service innovations available in the last 25 years," says Gregory on what precipitated her founding Paradigm Quest.
"Historically, the industry has focused primarily on how to originate the customer, but customer service was an afterthought," Gregory continues. "There was not a lot of focus and investment on the borrower experience and innovation of the process subsequent to acquiring the mortgage customer."
Paradigm Quest’s mandate is to make the mortgage process an ongoing customer relationship opportunity, and the industry benefits from doing a better job on focusing on the borrower throughout the mortgage process, enabled through innovation and efficiency gains.
"My thought was to create an organization that would assist the key participants in the transaction in maintaining an ongoing relationship with the borrower. Outsourcing itself was predominant in many other industries across the globe. My sense was if we set up a dedicated organization in this industry and do the back office work where existing mortgage companies typically did not put a lot of R&D and focus, there would be a significant opportunity that no one was has captured in the Canadian space."
A turnkey service operation, Paradigm Quest will work with the borrower and/or intermediary on behalf of the mortgage lender for the duration of the mortgage life cycle.
Co-founder CFO, Donald Zuill elaborates, "The company is solely focused on mortgage processing. We connect lenders and brands with their customers and then do the end-to-end servicing of those mortgages under their brand name.
"As part of our responsibility to our clients, we serve many stakeholders in the mortgage transaction: borrowers, mortgage investors, capital markets, mortgage originators, and mortgage insurers. We are committed to providing a very high level of service to all of the stakeholders which requires us to place a large emphasis on employee responsibility developed through our strong corporate culture," says Zuill.
In its six year history, Paradigm Quest has accomplished a number of feats that give credence to the company’s focus on service excellence. Paradigm Quest was named of Canada’s Top 250 Employers in 2008 through to 2011, has over 200 employees and offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, achieved an above-average ranking by Standard and Poor’s as a residential loan servicer in Canada, and is the recipient of numerous credit quality underwriting awards. Kathy Gregory herself has been recognized by Profit Magazine’s top W100 as the No. 1 CEO to watch for the company’s impressive early success.
The mortgage industry has responded in kind to Paradigm Quest, achieving over $1.5 billion in mortgages under administration in its first year of operation (2006) and currently managing approximately $20 billion mortgages under administration.
"Going forward, we believe that there is a growing opportunity for outsourced services and have a very detailed and aggressive plan that, without a doubt, is attainable with the team we have and commitment they bring to work each and every day" says Gregory.
Gregory does not shy from clearly defining the goals of the company and declaring its leadership. The company’s growth strategy includes a number of bold initiatives with a focus on innovation, process and product development. "First and foremost, as a company culture we are an exceptionally performance-driven organization with very clearly established and communicated goals. We put people first, we over-deliver on service consistently and we are constantly challenging conventional thinking. We know that to succeed to the next level that it is vital we stay focused and maintain these key principals as we continue to grow."
"We also exceed the expectations of the mortgage lender and the brand. What is it they want to bring to the market? When we over-deliver on the borrower experience then we really have met the needs of the brand and the lender by helping them build their business. Again, if we focus on staying clearly driven on our principles, then we are really servicing all stakeholders."
With the mortgage market being what it is, Paradigm Quest is perfectly positioned to continue its exponential growth. When asked how the mortgage rates are affecting the company, CFO Zuill says certainly the low interest rates are making it more attractive to borrow money and purchase homes.
"Although the mortgage market has cooled somewhat, it is still robust. The Canadian real estate market and overall credit quality has such a strong foundation that it has avoided the foreclosure nightmares of the U.S.," says Gregory
"Borrowers are more educated now than ever and take the time to pick the best lender, and not necessarily from a rate perspective. They want to know what additional services and value they will get from their mortgage dealer such as advice and a good experience."
Technology key to customer experience
Gregory’s philosophy is that technology is a key to revolutionizing the borrower experience and is launching a new end-to-end processing system with its customized RUBI technology (Revolutionary Universal Business Innovator). RUBI is an integrated lender underwriting and servicing platform.
"RUBI provides the vehicle to revolutionize our service levels. This application will not only assist the origination community, but it’s equally important to the mortgage borrower," says Gregory. "In addition to utilizing the latest technology and offering significant gains and efficiencies, the key differentiating factor of the RUBI technology is that it was developed and created by users-people with industry experience and a vision for the business need."
Buoyed by its tremendous success, Paradigm Quest while continuing focusing on the Canadian mortgage market, asking how it can take its business model to new assets classes and global markets. Built for multiple assets and currencies, the RUBI system will enable the company to look into these markets over the next several years.
"That is what we built the company on," says Gregory. "Bringing innovation to the market, supported by the foundation of our principals, people and technology"