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Lending

HomeDirect: 3 ways to win in online mortgage lending

How to succeed in a tight lending environment

May 2, 2014
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BOKF Financial (BOKF) launched its HomeDirect Mortgage channel online in October 2013 as part of an initiative to reach homeowners at home, and since then, HomeDirect Mortgage has been successful, funding $52 million in first quarter 2014, its first full quarter in operation. It funded $25 million in loans in March alone.

BOKF Financial  released its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, reporting an increase in mortgage banking revenue, and originations from the HomeDirect Mortgage origination channel growing.

In light of the strong earnings report, Todd Geiman, senior vice president of HomeDirect Mortgage, outlined 3 areas that contribute to the online mortgage company’s success in today’s tighter lending market.

1. The Team

Since HomeDirect Mortgage is part of BOKF Financial, we have been able to attract some very high quality people. With BOK Financial as a backstop, they are able to pay well and have high standards. “On May 12, 2014 we will have 27 people in our division,” Geiman said. “I think people want to be part of a winning team.”

Now the purchase transaction is starting to lead the industry, which can be difficult when the online mortgage place is historically a space for people primarily in refinance. It takes a lot of coordination to create a purchase mortgage in New York when you are located in Kansas City. Geiman explained, “that is why we hire industry leading loan officers that have a track record of outstanding customer service.”

2. Set Goals

The company set up the initiative to grow the business by achieving certain milestones. “If we hit a milestone then we add staff and work on achieving the next milestone,” Geiman said. “Our first milestone was to close/fund $20 million in loan volume in one month.” And they did. HomeDirect Mortgage closed/funded $25 million in March. “We also had to have certain profit numbers as well. Our thought is that if we are profitable at every level then we are building something of value and something that we want to duplicate,” Geiman noted.

3. The product

Since HomeDirect Mortgage operates online, it caters very efficiently to military employees. “HomeDirect Mortgage executes very effectively in the VA space,” Geiman said. Looking back at the first point, the company made sure to hire underwriters, processors and loan officers on site that are very knowledgeable about VA lending. “We think this sets us apart from the competition. We have found that many of our competitors lend in only the conventional space and we have found that the VA borrower is underserved on the Internet,” Geiman added.

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