The Real Estate Encyclopedia
eCommission Finanical Services
Category - Technology Providers in Real Estate - Real Estate Internet Services

eCommission Financial Services, Inc. (eCommission) is a privately held corporation earning revenue by factoring the earned but unrealized commission receivables of U.S. real estate agents and brokers. The Management Team of eCommission is credited as being the first to offer commission advance services on a national scale specifically to the real estate industry. The origins of the business date back to1989 .

The Service

In the United States, real estate brokers and agents assist individuals who are interested in buying or selling real property. In most jurisdictions, an agent is required to have a license in order to receive remuneration for services rendered. This remuneration most often comes in the form of a commission, typically split between the buyerís broker/agent and the sellerís broker/agent.

When a real estate sale is in pending status (ratified contract signed by buyer and seller) eCommission offers the listing or buying side agent the option to receive up to 90% of the net commission earned in advance of the estimated closing date, which is typically 30 to 90 days in the future. Funds are advanced within 24 hours. Agents take advantage of this type of service to help stabilize their business cash flow and secure funds for growth opportunities. eCommissionís fees are charged as a reduction to the net commission amount due to the agent, excluding any amount that might be owed to the agentís broker. eCommission receives repayment of funds when the sale closes. Repayment comes in the form of a redirection from the closing entity (title or escrow company, attorney or listing broker).

History of eCommission

The history of eCommission traces back to Sudbury, Ontario Canada and a company called Your Commissions, Now! Inc. (YCN) created in 1989 by Mike and Cheryl Whaling. YCN was the first independent company in North America created for the explicit purpose of providing advance payment of real estate commissions to agents.

While no company existed previously to provide this service, the concept itself was not new. Real estate brokers traditionally offered unstructured advance services to certain agents within their brokerage. Mike Whaling witnessed a common reluctance among brokers who advanced commissions because they feared the underlying sale securing the advance might fall through. In those situations, brokers become collectors to their agents, and the business relationship suffers. Whaling hypothesized that if an independent company was created exclusively to provide this type of service, Brokers would choose to refer the business in order to meet the needs of their agents and eliminate any personal financial risk for themselves.

Convinced his idea was a good one, Mike started YCN and initially sourced funding by seeking small, private investments of between $5K to 50K. Originally, the rate of interest paid to these private investors was prohibitive for scaling the company but Whalingís goal in the early 1990s was simply to prove the concept worked and that a market existed for the service.

In 1992 sons Mark and Sean Whaling joined YCN, which was renamed Agentís Equity Inc. after relocating to Toronto, the largest real estate market in Canada. After securing an initial line of credit from Bank of Nova Scotia in 1993, the Company moved from the elder Whalingís apartment to an adjacent office building on Bloor Street in Toronto.

Also in 1993, Agentís Equity launched its first direct marketing loyalty program to customers called Equity Club, a system whereby points were awarded to agents for each successful commission advance completed. The customer base began to grow quickly around this time, as did competition. The first competitor to Agentís Equity was a company called The Commission Exchange founded by a former private investor in YCN. From 1993 to 1996, several other companies entered the market in Canada with varying degrees of success. The most common failings of subsequent entrants related to inferior underwriting standards and lack of financial services expertise. 

By 1997, Agentís Equity had established itself as the market leader in Canada with a rapidly growing number of users who liked the companyís ease of use, professionalism and quick turnaround time. In 1998 the company was the first commission advance service to be exclusively selected by Century 21 and Coldwell Banker Canada to provide commission advances nationally to its respective network of sales associates and brokers. Also that year, Agentís Equity was the first commission advance company to create a website to facilitate the entire commission advance process online.

In 1998, the Whalings were approached by Koch Ventures, Inc., the venture capital division of Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company in North America. Based in Wichita KS, Koch Ventures was interested in the concept of commission factoring and were in the process of due diligence on an unrelated U.S start up when they learned of the Whalings as being the true pioneers in the industry. As part of their diligence, Koch Ventures met with the Whalings in Toronto and made a decision to provide financial backing for their U.S. expansion.

In 1999, the joint venture between the Whalings and Koch Ventures Inc. created eCommission Systems LLC based in Austin, TX. eCommission was the first advance company in the United States to form exclusive marketing alliances with the top national real estate companies, including Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, RE/MAX, the NRT Inc., and Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

The venture between the Whalings and Koch Ventures was short lived. With the collapse of the stock market in 2000 and implosion of the dot com frenzy, Koch Ventures chose to liquidate investments in several of its portfolio start ups, including its majority share in eCommission. Mark and Sean Whaling purchased Kochís interests in 2001. The newly formed eCommission Financial Services, Inc. benefited from the large investment Koch Ventures had made. The Whaling brothers managed the company until 2005 when Mark Whaling exited the business and liquidated his ownership upon a change of control. Sean Whaling remained and continues serving as President of the Company along with CEO and Director Scott Vetrees, Director and Chairman Howard Koenig, Director Ed Sondker and Director Matt Carpenter.

eCommission enjoys its standing as the largest commission financing company in North America with over 50,000 successfully completed transactions and over $250 million in commission advances to sales associates across 48 States. Exclusive marketing agreements with the nationís top real estate brands including Coldwell Banker, ERA, Century 21, RE/MAX, NRT, Prudential as well as hundreds of large, independent brokers, solidifies the companyís industry dominance. In addition to offering advances on pending sales as its core business, the company expanded its product line in 2007 to include advances on active residential listings.

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Technology Providers in Real Estate - Real Estate Internet Services
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