Sutherland Head of Global Business Development Neil Sutherland sat down with Envoy Mortgage COO Kim Hoffman to discuss Envoy's decision to work with Sutherland for operational needs. 

Neil ArmstrongNeil Armstrong: Kim, I have had the privilege of knowing you for years. Now, I have the privilege of having you as a valued client. We started working on your vision about a year ago to create scale, reduce cost and to optimize your growth strategy. I wanted to sit down and go over the last 12 months and how Sutherland is doing as your operational partner. So…I have a few questions that will try to encompass the beginning of our journey together to now.

Armstrong: What pushed you and Envoy to reach out to Sutherland to support your operational needs?

hoffmanKim Hoffman: Sutherland was an easy choice for me, I led their global operations and service delivery platform before joining Envoy Mortgage as COO. Having intimate knowledge of Sutherland’s capabilities, deep mortgage expertise and their dedication to superior skilled personnel made it an easy choice. Sutherland’s leadership team is comprised of mortgage bankers, therefore they approach the business as we do. This gives me confidence to partner with them in my new role.

Armstrong: How long did it take to get this partnership and process off the ground?

Hoffman: The process was very easy. Within six weeks of discussions we're live with our first division and then added a new division each month until all four were live and stable. Sutherland has a very mature solutions architect team which performed a comprehensive due diligence on our current state processes, made recommendations and designed the future state process. This made the project manageable, quick and without “heaping” burden on us.

Like most mortgage companies, we don’t have an abundance of personnel free to take on projects. Sutherland provided the heavy lifting.

Armstrong: Where are you seeing the biggest benefits to your organization?

Hoffman: Sutherland provides junior underwriting support for us. It's behind the scenes, doesn’t weigh on the underwriting process, increases speed to decision and is seamless. 

Prior to partnering with Sutherland, we preformed a visualization exercise to dissect our underwriting process, identify friction points, non-value added touch points and opportunities. It became apparent that our underwriters had become the “catch-all” for everything. Fifty percent of the work performed was anything but credit related.

We began to think offshore and how we could move this work. We have our own offshore resources, however we didn’t have personnel trained as underwriters. I immediately thought of Sutherland. Their underwriting personnel, onshore and off, are trained via the Mortgage Bankers Association and all have their CRU (Certified Residential Underwriter) designation, including junior underwriters.

This talent pool made the transition easy. We are now have three shifts of personnel offshore preparing files for our underwriters on shore. We have eliminated the burdensome clerical work from our underwriters allowing us to double our decisions since the project began by adding only minimal additional onshore resources. This support is critical to how we think about capacity and growth.

Armstrong: I understand that we have applied automation to this process. Where do you see the biggest gains from this?

Hoffman: Sutherland is in the process of creating an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) solution to perform our appraisal check list. We expect this will reduce junior underwriting processing time by approximately 15 minutes, and also reduce the amount of work to perform for each employee. While this may not seem like a lot, it's profound when trying to turn files in minutes versus hours.

Armstrong: What would you tell other mortgage organizations about Sutherland’s service delivery overall?

Hoffman: Sutherland’s delivery is consistent, professional and expertly delivered by one of the most engaged workforces in the business. They are consummate business partners and we couldn’t be happier with their performance.  

Every mortgage company should be looking at alternative strategies to complement and reduce the burden of tasks that have inflated our personnel’s work load. Whether it's RPA, offshore or some other strategy, there are many ways of thinking of about your business that drive performance, reduce risk and help our employees enjoy more productive days. Junior underwriting is just one of the solutions I employ.

Armstrong: Kim, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to go over this engagement and the benefits Envoy Mortgage is experiencing. I am even more excited about the next 12 months. Your insight and collaboration has made this partnership soar, and everyone at Sutherland is looking forward to building on our momentum.