Guaranteed Rate is adding several call centers and 75 loan officers from Discover Home Loans, answering industry rumors that broke out at the end of July over who would purchase the remains of Discover's mortgage business.
Discover Financial Services (DFS) announced on June 16 that it was closing its mortgage origination business, Discover Home Loans. “The business is not projected to meet our financial expectations due to ongoing challenges to our home loans operating model, so we made the difficult decision to exit," said Carlos Minetti, president of consumer banking for Discover.
Discover Home Loans accepted its final loan application in July, leaving the company open to eager lenders waiting to buy what little remains of the credit card company's foray into the mortgage lending business.
Guaranteed Rate, loanDepot and Freedom Mortgage were rumored to be vying for the home loan business, with Guaranteed Rate confirming on Friday that it won out.
“We’re excited to add more great talent to our existing group of top producers,” said Victor Ciardelli, president and CEO of Guaranteed Rate. “With the launch of our new digital mortgage – the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”
Guaranteed Rate launched the world’s first digital mortgage in June and more than 4,400 people have already locked more than $1.4 billion in loans via the new technology.
The company's digital mortgage guides a homebuyer, or a homeowner who is refinancing, through an easy, step-by-step interface to choose a loan type, view their customized interest rates, complete the online application, see their credit scores from all three credit bureaus, receive an online loan approval and even securely upload and digitally sign key documents, at no cost to the borrower.
“This is a revolutionary change for the mortgage industry, as borrowers are now able to take charge of the process and complete each step of the digital mortgage online at their own pace,” said Ciardelli.
There is an increased push for companies to go digital due to regulatory pressure combined with consumer expectations for convenient and efficient service.
Earlier this year, Kelly Adkisson, a managing director at Accenture Credit Services, explained that they are seeing a clear change in customer demographics and needs, and lenders must adapt.
"Millennials are expecting different services and capabilities from lenders,” she said. Accenture’s research suggests the emergence of a new high value customer segment – “Generation D”. Generation D spans age groups and encompasses people who are deeply digital, integrating online and social media into the fabric of their lives.
Additionally, in August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finished its study on the benefits of electronic closings that it started back in April 2014.
The CFPB wanted to work with some of the lenders that already offered eClosing solutions in order to explore how they can best facilitate the process. And in the end the CFPB discovered that borrowers would in fact benefit from electronic closings as part of the mortgage loan process.
Meanwhile, although loanDepot didn't get the Discover Home Loans mortgage business, it is the subject of industry rumors of its own this week. According to industry sources close to the company, loanDepot is getting ready to file an initial public offering after making significant strides in the industry this year to try and become the No. 1 nonbank consumer lender.