Appreciating Assets: DocMagic puts employees at its forefront
It was like coming home. “The first moment Iwalked into this building, I knew it was the right place for our company,” Dominic “Don” Iannitti says.
Iannitti is president and CEO of DocMagic, the largest loan document production company in the U.S., and the building he’s speaking of is an impressive, 25,000-square-foot state-of the art technology center in Torrance, California. Within the mostly curved walls of this modern office space, more than 100 employees dedicate themselves to providing unparalleled service for their clients, some of which are the nation’s top lenders.
Iannitti founded DocMagic back in 1988, and as he explains the open-office concept of the building to us, he can’t help but reminisce over the company’s humble beginnings— three employees (including Iannitti) in a 1,000-square-foot office. The company’s first sales person joined the team as a part-time employee after successfully selling the company its first fax machine, a critical component in those early days of taking orders.
But while the company’s start may have been unassuming, its vision was always clear.
“The core of what I found interesting when forming DocMagic was taking data in and leveraging it to produce documentation that would otherwise take hours to type out,” Iannitti says. “It was amazing to me that we could now leverage a data point across many forms and reduce errors because there wasn’t any re-typing going on. Of course all this grew into much more.”
A source of great pride for Iannitti is the fact that a high percentage of the company’s 100+ employees have been with the company for the long haul. This not only includes his COO Alan Brisbane, who has been with DocMagic since day one, but many of the support staff as well. “
DocMagic as a whole understands the immense value of its most important resource—the people that make this place run,” Iannitti says. “A lot of companies get to the point of where they are patting themselves on the back for their own ingenuity, when the reality is it’s the people that make up the organization that make it happen. We take a lot of steps to make sure our employees are comfortable.”
When you look at the design of DocMagic’s headquarters, the high-esteem employees are held in is obvious. The open-office layout encourages workers to wander away from their desks, often convening together in one of the office’s many lounges. While each employee has their own individual workspace with big, dual monitors on their desk, anyone can grab a notebook computer and log in from another location in the building. It’s a type of collaborative design that’s borrowed from forward-thinking companies like Google, which pride themselves on breaking the mold in office design and employee culture.
Dramatic art, inspired by previous ad campaigns, adorns the walls,chronicling different periods in the company’s exponential growth. In between the art are large, dramatic windows that look out on the scenic greenery of the campus. Not just for gazing at, employees are encouraged to take advantage of all the amenities the building has to offer, including its outdoor space.
“We enforce breaks,” Iannitti confidently proclaims. “You can come and sit at your desk for the next eight hours and never move at another company, but that’s not the way it works here. The company is positioned specifically so that our employees can go outside and relax, walk around, and get anything they may need within one block of the office. We also have an on-site gym. We try to promote good, healthy behavior in the sense that we make sure you’re eating, taking breaks, and going out and walking. There are plenty of areas for play, such as our Ping-Pong table, where we have tournaments.”
It is this dedication to playing hard that Iannitti believes makes his employees dedicated to working hard, too. And at a time when adoption of e-lending solutions is up and TILA-RESPA is on the horizon, this steadfast work ethic is crucial.
For DocMagic, the move to the paperless loan is nothing new, and as an early adopter of e-sign technology, they have made it their mission to promote it not only within the industry but among the general public as well. One way in which they have done this is to open up their e-sign tool for free, for anyone who wants to upload a document and use it.
“You can come to our website today, and within a couple minutes, upload your documents and send them to whoever you need to with your signature included,” Iannitti says. “The whole process is completely automatic and absolutely free of charge. This initiative demonstrates the fact that we are a technology company and want to do everything we possibly can to help our clients and potential clients leverage the technology we create and do a better job extending their service to their clients.”
The company is currently gearing up for the adoption of TILA-RESPA on Aug. 1.
“It’s one thing to prepare from a technical perspective, but we have a lot of training sessions going on because, of course, our support people have to answer every question that will come in,” Iannitti says. “So already everyone is being trained to understand exactly how everything works and how to answer questions correctly. It’s a major undertaking but it’s exciting at the time—these things shake the industry up. For companies like us, we enjoy change, so we thrive in this type of atmosphere.”
In addition to helping clients ensure they are compliant with TILA-RESPA, DocMagic helps their clients adjust to changing MISMO, standards as well.
“Today’s clients needs are much more extensive. All of our integrations are based on the latest, greatest versions of MISMO.” Iannitti says. “Our clients have never dealt with this before, and it is radically different than the previous version, so having the ability to have a professional services arm has been critical to us to be able to help these clients with those types of needs.”
As demonstrated by the needs created by such regulatory changes, one of the greatest areas of growth for the company in recent years has been in the call center. With a magnifying glass on all the changes the industry is experiencing, Iannitti explains that there has been a substantial uptick in questions, calls, concerns, tweets and requests.
“From our call center perspective, we are now putting on a mid- and late-evening shift, so we are almost around-the clock,” he says. “There’s a lot of growth in this area, but that’s what is necessary to give our clients the quality of service that they expect from DocMagic.”
Despite these changes, Iannitti is quick to remind us that, at its core, DocMagic is and always has been a technology company.
“In every aspect of what we do we’ve leveraged technology to such an extent that it’s what allows us to be on the cutting, even arguably, bleeding edge of just about everything we do.”
It doesn’t take long to realize that Dominic “Don”Iannitti is a man with a vision. Whether he’sleading his team in his role as president and CEO of DocMagic, Inc., or he’s excitedly sharing his plan for the company’s future, it’s hard to ever imagine a time when he didn’t have a clear vision of where he was headed.
This unwavering drive is a trait honed through years of hard work and approaching business the only way he knew how: by getting in the trenches with his team and never flinching from the evolving technology needs of the mortgage industry.
“I was always an entrepreneur. Even at 10 years old I was selling something,” Iannitti recalls with a laugh. “When I was a kid, it was okay to go door to door; you could sell flower seeds, brass social security cards to the elderly … there was no end. I always enjoyed brainstorming and coming up with sales ideas.”
This entrepreneurial spirit resurfaced when Iannitti and close high-school friend Alan Brisbane hatched their first great business idea in college. The idea was light years ahead of its time—a video rental delivery service back in the days when video rental stores were only just popping up in Los Angeles.
Looking back, this early business venture is the perfect example of the skill that has served Iannitti so well in the mortgage technology sector—his ability to recognize a need within an existing industry and fulfill it better than anyone else in the field.
“It was an interesting concept that worked well for us,” Iannitti says. “There were 20 or 30 stores that would work with us, and then we added food—it was kind of a big deal. It was fun. We didn’t make any money but we learned a lot. The entrepreneurial spirit has always shined bright in my persona, there’s no question about that.”
While Iannitti outgrew this business concept, the solid friendship and business partnership between Iannitti and Brisbane is an enduring one. One of DocMagic’s first employees back in 1988, Brisbane is still with the company today, now in the role of COO . Iannitti proudly considers him his right-hand man. “Don and I have known each other for more than 35 years. He has a way of empowering employees that gives DocMagic an edge on our competition. We sit right across from each other and each day still feels like the first day,” Brisbane said.
With his keen sense for business from an early age, it’s not surprising that, upon entering college, Iannitti declared a double major in business and finance. It was during this period that he first encountered the mortgage industry, albeit in an unusual way.
“At one point I had a job in accounting, working at a college in Carson, California, and there was this building across the street that was just really sharp, and I always thought to myself, ‘I want to work in that building. That’s a great looking building.’ Turns out it was a mortgage company.”
Iannitti, spurred by his enthusiasm for his business classes, put plans into place for DocMagic before graduation day even rolled around.
“You can never over-emphasize the importance of planning,” Iannitti advises. “I worked on my business plan for many, many months. It’s funny because I used that plan to go out and grab capital, which served us that first year of the operation. At the end of the year, my bottom line was within $6,000 off what my plan said it would be. Which is unheard of. Business plans are never right when it comes to that stuff.”
Today, Iannitti has his own dream office—a multimillion dollar facility that, thanks to its unique, modern design, has won accolades from the American Institute of Architects. In classic Iannitti style however, he is not done dreaming.
“We know what we want to accomplish in the next 10 years,” Iannitti said coyly, alluding to the next steps for DocMagic. “It’s our entrepreneurial spirit that makes this possible.”