Partnering with Propel Home Loans, a top 150 US broker, to deliver a 5-star borrower experience

Image of a successful mortgage broker smiling because he uses Innova Financial Services third-party loan processing service.

Loan processing time


Increased customer satisfaction scores


Building relations, not supervising


How Propel grows revenue

The Challenge

Propel Home Loans is an Independent Mortgage Broker founded in 2020, before the pandemic. Its founder, Leslie Ferris, wanted to create a firm whose sole guiding principle was to deliver a superb borrower experience. He had been part of the industry for a while and had always striven to go above and beyond for his clients. But operational challenges in underwriting, processing, and management of resources had been a block to his aspirations. ‘As an independent, you can control who is on your team’, Leslie says, and that leads to greater agility and control to provide a great customer experience that drives strong revenue growth through referrals.

As he started Propel, the pandemic hit, and for a moment, it felt like the business would not make it. However, just then, the market took off. As the pandemic stimulus and lockdowns made saving much simpler, the time inside the house and working from home stimulated house sales. The challenge was capturing the demand and scaling up as quickly as possible.

Early on, Les chose to go 3rd party processing to help him scale because it allowed him to scale quickly in the face of uncertain demand fluctuations. It made great budgetary sense since he did not have to carry the fixed cost of the operations. He felt it would allow him greater control over the borrower experience since working with a business allows for SLA-based relationships with clear, fact-based communication and communication flexibility. Finally, as an independent mortgage broker, if Propel does its loan processing due to regulation, it must absorb this cost for every loan. Outsourcing to a 3rd party allows the cost to be passed on to the borrowers that benefit from it, having the added benefit of incentivising the 3rd party to focus on the borrower as its final paying customer.

Propel tried to identify suitable 3rd party loan processing providers by asking for recommendations from industry insiders, searching online, and hour upon hours of vetting the limited options available in the market.

However, Propel had significant challenges with the loan process providers they started working with due to:

  • Poor quality of loan processing
  • Access and retention of loan processors’ human resources.
  • Problem integrating the technology solutions together with Propel’s tech stack.
  • Loan processor ability to relate and be empathetic to borrowers.
  • Loan processing companies force their process rather than adjust it to Propel needs.

These challenges had a massive impact on borrower experience. Borrowers could not get a hold of the loan processor to clear conditions or address questions or concerns, leading to confusion. Les had to deal with constant escalations to address the issues, and when he went to the systems to understand where the loan process was the systems were not updated or accurate as the loan processor was not updating files.

The knock-on effect is that Propel Loan Officers’ time was tied up between 25-50% on dealing with loan processing escalations.

The Solution

Propel Loans engaged with Innova while our cofounder bought his property in Minnesota. Coming from the Fintech sector and experiencing the loan processing issue ourselves, we quickly explored how to solve their challenges with Propel.

Innova’s engagement process is very different from other providers. We had a consultative approach in which Propel Loans explained their process, pain points, and favourite way to work the loans. It allowed us to align not only on the working process but also on the end goal of borrower experience.

We then played back our understanding and demonstrated it on our platform and processes to confirm the alignment with Propel. We designed the system to ensure you cannot go wrong if you follow its process. The tool guides you step by step and times each interaction to achieve hitting the closing date with minimal difficulty.

‘There is always a capacity problem with typical loan processors – the human brain can’t remember all the actions associated with a certain volume of loans. That limitation is removed with Innova’ says Les Ferries.

What was Innova’s difference?

  • Consulting and solution approach.
  • Deliver on commitments.
  • Ability to take feedback
  • Borrower Experience that’s 5-star.
  • Powerful tech platform LoanWorks to work with the rest of the tech stack.

The Results

‘Innova Financial Services is the best processing firm I have worked with in the last 13 years,’ says Les Ferries. ‘The comfort and stress relief that comes with knowing that Innova is handling the loan process and taking care of my borrowers is tremendous, and it shows in the 5-star reviews we consistently get. Most of our business is referrals; more than other organizations we live or die by delighting our clients.’

Consistently Innova identifies the risks involved with any loan process upfront and validates every document to ensure that all underwriting conditions are met and deal with any issues before they hit the underwriter themselves. And that knowledge is embedded in the InnovaWorks platform.

‘The measure of success for a loan processor working with us is to delight our borrowers and to give me peace of mind, and Innova hits it out of the park in both measures,’ says Les.

This results in these tangible results today:

  • 50% faster loan processing closing times.
  • 99% customer satisfaction scores, with fewer borrower interactions due to great expectation setting, both automated and human-guided.
  • 75% greater loan officer capacity to create new leads and relationships as time spent supervising loan processors has been drawn to 0.
  • 100% referral business that has held up in challenging times, helping Propel achieve the top 150 US Independent Mortgage Broker.
  • Increased market reach as Innova has both native Spanish and English speakers.

What’s ahead

Taking the combined Propel and Innova service to the next level means growing the Loan Officers working in Propel to generate even more loans to achieve a top 100 US ranking while continuing to deliver 99.99% 5 star service.

In order to scale Innova is implementing AI to help validate documents and provide feedback to borrowers and stakeholders on document suitability in 10 mins or less. Improving the loan process service is also about giving borrowers even more choice on how to address their question or concerns, so we are implementing chat and videoconferencing, in addition to our secure site and phone calls, when needed to make our loan processors even closer to the borrower.


We asked Les for advice for similar businesses as an owner/broker. He said:

“You can’t control the market and volume, so stop trying to staff up and down.

Agility and flexibility are crucial to seizing opportunities or protecting yourself in a downturn.

Innova Financial Services LoanProcessing works to help you scale – they will deliver on their commitments.”

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