Lending Real Estate

Google launches mortgage comparison tool with Zillow

LendingTree will also bring mortgages to Google

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Well, it’s official. Google (GOOG) has come to mortgages.

After first being reported earlier this year, Google is launching its own mortgage comparison tool via its Compare service.

Google Compare is no stranger to mortgages, just not in this country. Google Compare in the United Kingdom previously offered car insurance, travel insurance, credit cards, and mortgages.

Google began laying the groundwork in February, when it launched its own built-in mortgage calculator.

As it turns out, that was just the beginning.

Beginning very soon, consumers all over the country will be able to shop for a mortgage on Google. Imagine a consumer searching for "mortgage" on Google and being prompted to review a list of Google-approved lenders and their rates.

According to an announcement from Google, the mortgage comparison tool is currently available in California, with more states to follow.

“Google Compare for mortgages provides a seamless, intuitive experience that connects lenders with borrowers online,” Google posted on its website Monday.

“Whether you’re a national lender or one local to California, people searching for mortgages on their smartphone or desktop computer can now find you, along with a real-time, apples-to-apples comparison of rate quotes from other lenders — all in as little as a minute,” Google continued.

“Borrowers can also see ratings and read helpful reviews, and enter relevant information — like loan amount, estimated credit score, or home value — to receive rate quotes that match their needs,” Google said. “They can then visit your website to apply directly online or over the phone through one of your agents or loan officers.”

Powering Google Compare for mortgages will be Zillow Group (Z) and LendingTree (TREE), both of which announced Monday that they will be partnering with Google to provide mortgage information to the search engine monolith.

According to Zillow, lenders who use Zillow Group Mortgages for their marketing efforts will now have their rates, ratings and reviews prominently displayed on both “the world’s most popular search engine” and “the most visited real estate media network in the country.”

Zillow’s announcement goes on to say that Google has worked with a number of providers to provide a diversity of relevant results and purchasing options to users.

“With today’s launch, borrowers searching for mortgage custom quotes on Google Compare for Mortgages will now have seamless access to Zillow’s industry-leading real-time lender rates, reviews and ratings on both desktop and mobile devices,” Zillow said in a statement. “The mortgage shopping experience allows borrowers to shop anonymously, browse through more than 200,000 local and national lender reviews published on Zillow and choose to contact the lender best suited to meet their needs.”

LendingTree provided additional details on how Google Compare will work for mortgages.

“Google Compare now enables Google users to search for and compare mortgages online through an intuitive rate table experience, where LendingTree and its network of lenders, as well as other lending partners, provide customized rate quotes based on the information provided,” LendingTree said in a release.

“When searching for a mortgage-related term on Google, consumers are invited to the Google Compare Mortgages page within the search results,” LendingTree continued.

According to LendingTree, after users provide a few additional pieces of information, such as loan amount and home value, Google will display relevant mortgage rates from LendingTree and other lending partners.

“And much like LendingTree, the experience allows for a comparison of rate quotes from a variety of mortgage providers along with ratings and reviews from LendingTree customers,” LendingTree said.

According to an earlier report from Gigaom, Google sees the mortgage comparison tool as an opportunity to attract additional advertising dollars.

From the Gigaom report:

Compare is an ad product at its core, meaning that Google earns money every time a consumer takes an action based on its recommendations. The more money at stake, the higher is Google’s potential cut, which is why mortgages are especially interesting.

In Zillow’s announcement, it stated the financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Both Zillow and LendingTree said that they were excited to be a part of Google Compare for mortgages.

“Zillow Group and Google share the same vision to first and foremost empower consumers with comprehensive access to valuable information that helps them make confident, more informed financial decisions,” said Erin Lantz, Zillow Group vice president of mortgages. “This partnership allows us the unique opportunity to help borrowers by providing them with the industry’s most accurate, real-time information about home loans and mortgage lenders while simultaneously offering Zillow Group’s lenders increased reach for their businesses.”

Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree, shared in Lantz’s sentiments.

"We're thrilled to be a part of Google Compare, further helping to connect prospective borrowers with qualified mortgage providers as the transition to online lending accelerates," Lebda said.

"The choice and convenience offered to consumers is imperative when loan shopping online, and Google Compare makes the process even easier,” Lebda added. “Our expertise in providing an online rate table experience combined with our strong lender network gives LendingTree a distinct advantage when reaching potential borrowers through the online channel. We congratulate Google on the launch and are excited to be working with Google at this early stage."

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