Brian Faux has seen the mortgage industry from pretty much every vantage point, having worked for banks, nonbanks, and even Freddie Mac. He also saw the best and the worst the mortgage industry had to offer in his role as senior advisor at the Federal Housing Administration during the financial crisis.
Those experiences led him to co-found his own venture: Morty, a digital mortgage broker, with the goal of offering borrowers greater transparency, and wholesale lenders a way to reach a growing millennial audience. We’ve been delighted to work with Morty over the past year, and we’re delighted to catch up with Brian to learn more about what makes him tick.
Why did you create Morty, and what problem are you trying to solve?
Consumers today can effortlessly shop, compare and purchase nearly everything online—not their mortgage. Variance across lenders in rates and closing costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. No one wants to pay more than they need to on anything—let alone the biggest, most important financial transaction of their life.
Together with my co-founders, we wanted to create an online marketplace that would give homebuyers access to seeing how different loan options actually stack up between lenders, ultimately empowering them to make smarter decisions about their mortgage.
Variance across lenders in rates and closing costs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Who is your ideal customer?
We recognize that millennials are the largest home buying demographic right now, and that Morty offers a very “millennial” experience: a fully digital, transparent process that gives homebuyers access to the best options and allows them to transact on their own terms.
We'd like to think that Morty caters to everyone, but to date we've had the most success with three types of customers:
- Price-conscious customers who want to save the most money
- Tech-savvy customers who want a fully digital experience
- "Do-it-yourself" customers who want to plan in advance, educate themselves, and make informed choices
How is your relationship with a customer different from a traditional broker?
Traditionally there were two ways to get a mortgage. You could work with a loan officer, who is a commissioned sales employee of a lender, or you could work with an independent mortgage broker, who has relationships with a few local lenders. Loan officers are knowledgeable, but they can be salesy, and they limit your options to that single lender's. Brokers are great because they represent your interests, have more options, and they quarterback the process. Morty is a high-tech mortgage broker. We allow homebuyers to shop, compare, and close loans from a vast network of lenders, and we guide you all the way from first click to closing day.
No one wants to pay more than they need to on anything—let alone the biggest, most important financial transaction of their life.
How do you reach your customers?
The majority come from online channels like Facebook and Google. Our blog also generates a lot of traffic. Education is key to our mission. One thing we love is that most of our customers sign up when they're very early in the homebuying process. They can be 6-12 months out and just starting to ask questions like if they should rent or buy, how much they can afford, and what types of mortgage options exist. Morty helps them through the whole journey.
What markets are your currently active in and what are your plans for growth in the next year?
We recently launched in 5 new states—Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Washington—making us a live in 17 markets (Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia). We're hoping to be in 40 states by the end of this year and national by 2019.
What’s your favorite Morty success story?
We helped a first-time home buyer in Florida, just after Hurricane Irma. The buyer was about to lose both his home and mortgage, but we managed to sort everything and close a deal for him in record time. We’ve also saved one family over $180K on their mortgage payments, so that was a definitely a proud moment for us as well. Helping people save money on their homes or giving them a great home buying experience is always rewarding for everyone at Morty.
What gets you excited about coming into work everyday?
Being part of a team that is dedicated to the same social mission is really exciting. We all have such a unique offering and approach to doing things—knowing that each day we’re challenging each other and finding new, creative ways to problem-solve and reach people is incredibly motivating.
Helping people save money on their homes or giving them a great home buying experience is always rewarding for everyone at Morty.
What are you currently reading?
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero.
Coffee, Tea, Or Other?
Coffee—Birch cold brew.
What’s your favorite part of working in New York?
Just being in New York is my favorite part of working in New York!