In a Nutshell: By focusing on personal, home, and home equity loans, and making customer service paramount, loanDepot has become the second-largest non-bank lender in the US. In early 2017, the company unveiled its proprietary mello™ software that connects mortgage applicants to licensed loan officers who give real-time guidance on applications. In January 2018, mello Home was introduced to further loanDepot’s role in the homeownership journey by connecting pre-approved borrowers with real estate agents in their area. In the second half of 2018, the company plans to launch a new service to connect approved home improvement loan borrowers with verified and licensed contractors, continuing its aim to be the one-stop shop for homeownership.
Near the end of 2017, we covered loanDepot and the company’s introduction of mello™ as part of an 18-month, $80-million investment in technology that would upgrade its proprietary digital lending platform.
Already the nation’s second-largest non-bank consumer lender with a focus on personal, home, and home equity loans, the company has added to its growing portfolio of services with its recent launch of mello Home.
The mello Home service connects pre-approved mortgage borrowers with verified real estate agents in their local markets. Previously, loanDepot had already allowed consumers to run an application for a mortgage or non-mortgage loan from any device — even through a smartphone — and get real-time guidance and advice from any of more than 1,400 licensed loan officers in every state.
By adding access to local real estate agents once an application is approved, loanDepot essentially increases its role in the consumers’ homebuying journey.
“This is a big moment in our broad vision of constructing the whole homeownership life cycle rather than just the mortgage and lending sector,” said Julian Hebron, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at loanDepot.
Making Homeownership Smarter and Easier
The mello Home service is free for consumers and meets the needs of borrowers who may have little experience with the homebuying process. By introducing these consumers to licensed real estate agents in their respective areas, loanDepot helps customers shorten the time it takes to shop for and close on new homes.
The move sets the national consumer lender apart from the typical players in the Fintech industry that focus on specific disciplines within their niche. As consumers become accustomed to the one-stop-shop way of thinking throughout the retail industry, loanDepot looks to revolutionize the way homes are bought, sold, and remodeled.
“The primary objective of mello Home is to address a customer need and expectation to source all homeownership services through a single source,” Hebron said.
He also said the idea of mello Home — and future services provided under the mello umbrella — have been under development since loanDepot was created eight years ago. The company’s plans are clear.
“We aren’t just trying to disrupt lending,” he said. “We’re trying to disrupt the entire homeownership ecosystem.”
Aiming to Do for Housing What Amazon Did for Retail
A 2018 survey of more than 1,000 homeowners in the US showed that 97% of respondents said they felt frustrated by having to work with multiple vendors during the homeownership experience. This includes home improvement and repair workers needed well after a mortgage closes.
loanDepot’s plans for 2018 include establishing a home improvement venture that will provide loans of up to $75,000 for home upgrades, and the seamless introduction of approved borrowers to verified and licensed contractors in their area who can complete the necessary work.
The goal for loanDepot is to revolutionize the homeownership experience in the same way that Amazon.com forever changed the retail industry.
“Our stories start very much the same,” Hebron said. “Amazon started with books and had a proprietary technology platform that it fully committed to and customer service that beats everybody. Fast forward, and it’s not just dealing in books, but everything in retail.
“We did the same thing. We started in mortgage with a proprietary technology platform and a resolute concentration on customer service, all while using a localized sales force, unlike many of our competitors. We’re now eight years in and starting to make that expansion into the rest of housing.”
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