Online mortgage firm Edison Financial puts down roots in Windsor
Monday, May 4, 2020
The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Edison Financial has planted roots in Windsor and launched its online mortgage service with big plans and a big backer in Detroit-based Rock Holdings.
Edison Financial, which launched operations March 13, has hired 16 people with plans to add another 40 to 50 before year’s end.
“We decided to focus on Ontario as our first market because it’s one of the biggest and we could be a community benefit with our technology application,” said company founder and president Hash Aboulhosn.
“As a technology company, we’re looking for the best talent. In Windsor, we’ve found amazing talent and we can grow here.”
Aboulhosn said all 16 employees hired so far have come from the Windsor area.
He said tech companies in smaller urban centres can find it easier to recruit employees who will stay longer.
“You bring them in early, train and develop them into world-class performers,” Aboulhosn said.
“Having lived in Toronto and Vancouver prior to Windsor, we also see people in big cities looking for opportunities, looking for reasons to go home.
“We see an opportunity to provide a reason to go home to Windsor and stay.”
In addition to talent, Aboulhosn said Windsor was the perfect location being near to the Detroit headquarters of the company’s major backer and investor, Rock Holdings/Quicken Loans.
Edison Financial will be located on the second floor of Rock Holdings’ Rocket Innovation Studio in downtown Windsor.
“Rock is providing the seed financing, some shared space in Windsor, but will also be a mentor and backer,” said Aboulhosn, who emphasized Edison will operate as an independent company.
“Beyond the financing, I can’t express how much of a benefit it is to get to pick the brains of the people at Rock Holdings.”
One of those people, Chad Weinbaum, has joined Edison as chief revenue officer.
Weinbaum left his position as senior vice-president at Quicken Loans after 22 years with the largest mortgage lender in the U.S.
Weinbaum and Aboulhosn had connected after Rock Holdings bought the Vancouver-based mortgage technologies company Lendesk in 2019. Aboulhosn had served as Lendesk’s CFO prior to the project in Windsor.
The company will use Lendesk technology giving it access to its direct-to-lender application network.
“The opportunity was too good to turn down,” Weinbaum said. “We’re building something for Canadians. It’ll be a unique experience for Canadians to do mortgages in a different way and receive great service.
“We intend to be the gold standard of the industry in Canada.”
Weinbaum said the company will be distinctly Canadian, but will incorporate a lot of Quicken Loans philosophies that have earned it an annual place on the list of best U.S. employers.
“Culture is the basic foundation of what we’re building,” Weinbaum said.
“We’re continuing to hire even during the COVID pandemic … We’re also investing heavily in technology.”
Canada’s six biggest banks currently dominate the domestic mortgage industry. Aboulhosn envisions quickly breaking into that club.
“There’s change coming in the Canadian mortgage industry,” Aboulhosn said.
“People will definitely get the best service, best advice and best products.”
Aboulhosn said Edison Financial also plans to be a community builder not just a lender.
“Getting involved in the community is a top priority,” Weinbaum said.
“We want to give back. Right now we’re looking to partner with existing programs, but in the future we will do more from our own standpoint.”