[Update 1: Well, it happened again. For at least the fourth time in the course of HousingWire's reporting on Nationstar's transformation into Mr. Cooper, it appears Nationstar is attempting to scrub evidence of Mr. Cooper from the Internet after HousingWire revealed it to the public, apparently before Nationstar was ready. In this case, MrCooper.com, which was a live, functioning website (screenshot below), as of mid-afternoon on Friday, July 1, is offline and inaccessible, as of early evening on July 1. This article is now updated to reflect the fact that MrCooper.com has apparently disappeared from the internet.]
It appears that the transformation is nearly complete.
Nationstar Mortgage is now one step closer to officially becoming Mr. Cooper, as the company recently launched a flagship website for its new brand: MrCooper.com, or at least it appeared, until HousingWire reported the website's existence on Friday afternoon.
As HousingWire reported earlier this year, Nationstar will be changing its name to Mr. Cooper at some point this year.
When HousingWire first reported Nationstar’s plans to rebrand as Mr. Cooper in December, it was unknown, even reportedly to the company’s employees, how extensive the rebranding effort would be, but Bray said in February that Nationstar plans to combine its originations and servicing business under the Mr. Cooper brand umbrella.
In a presentation accompanying the call with investors, Nationstar disclosed that the plan is to consolidate its Nationstar and Greenlight Loans brands into Mr. Cooper.
So, for the company, the rebranding effort is apparently much more than simply a name change.
“Few would argue that the consumer mortgage experience is broken, and it’s time for someone to challenge convention and status quo in the industry,” Bray said in February. “We’re rethinking everything we do and we’re on mission to create the most customer-focused company in the industry, because we believe great service is great for business.”
And MrCooper.com drives that point home, repeatedly. Well, it did, when it existed. But that's not the case anymore.
As of mid-afternoon on July 1, MrCooper.com was not a fully-functional website. At that point, it worked as more of a placeholder, noting that Nationstar is indeed becoming Mr. Cooper and telling visitors what to expect from Mr. Cooper. But MrCooper.com is no longer a functional website.
HousingWire attempted to contact Nationstar prior to publishing its article on MrCooper.com, which went live on Friday afternoon at 3:14 p.m. Central, as reflected in the tweet from HousingWire's official Twitter account, seen below.
— HousingWire (@HousingWire) July 1, 2016
But Nationstar did not respond to HousingWire's request for comment until later in the afternoon on Friday, with a spokesperson providing the following statement about MrCooper.com:
“As you know, we’ve been exploring the use of Mr. Cooper as a brand,” the Nationstar spokesperson said in a statement. “The site you are referring to is a test site for a landing page which, if launched, is designed to showcase the customer focused elements of the brand and answer frequently asked questions for our customers.”
This isn't the first time that Nationstar reacted to HousingWire's reporting on Mr. Cooper by attempting to remove mentions of it from the internet prior to Nationstar being ready to reveal it to the public.
In December 2015, HousingWire reported that Nationstar was considering a massive rebranding effort. HousingWire discovered this plan in a job posting on Nationstar's website.
The December posting stated that Nationstar’s vision is to create a “one stop shop” to help consumers “find a home, buy a home, sell a home, or just enjoy the home they own.”
To fulfill this goal, Nationstar’s posting stated that it “recently engaged” a Los Angeles-based “brand strategy firm” called Phenomenon to assist in “defining a bold new brand strategy and validate it through direct consumer research.”
While it was unknown at the time what exactly Phenomenon was going to do for Nationstar, the job posting on Nationstar’s website provided more detail – and the real key to Nationstar’s plan.
“As a result of this strategy, it is likely that Nationstar will consolidate multiple existing brands and create a new flagship brand for the company,” the posting stated.
But after HousingWire reported Nationstar’s plan, the section in the job posting mentioning Phenomenon and any mention of Nationstar rebranding were removed.
In January, HousingWire reported that Nationstar was indeed rebranding and revealed the company would be using the name Mr. Cooper.
This was backed up by HousingWire discovering several posts on social media sites, including Instagram, from Nationstar employees, who posted images of the Mr. Cooper-branded swag they got from Nationstar.
HousingWire captured the images in screenshots, but shortly after publishing the article revealing Mr. Cooper, the social media posts disappeared.
Later in January, HousingWire reported that Nationstar launched an online store for Mr. Cooper-branded materials, not dissimilar from the materials that the company provided to its employees.
The following day, the link to the Mr. Cooper online store was no longer public. The link was private and could not be accessed without a password.
It’s likely that Nationstar was not aware that the website was publicly viewable, considering a HousingWire source suggested that the online store is a vendor site or a company store, not intended for public view.
But as stated above, in the following days, the online store was made inactive, or at least not publicly accessible.
And now, it's happened again.
Before MrCooper.com disappeared from the internet, HousingWire reviewed it extensively.
The website featured a series of branding messages, identifying what the company’s goals are for Mr. Cooper, and a video that also conveys a similar message.
“We're changing a lot more than our name,” the website stated. “We're changing the entire home loan experience.”
Both the video and accompanying block of text painted a grandiose picture of what Mr. Cooper hopes to be.
“It's more than a name change. It's a change to the way we work with our customers. From new purchases and refinancing to servicing of existing loans,” the website stated.
“We're keeping things simple. Focusing on the solution. Putting customers first,” the website continued. “All with one single-minded goal: To keep the dream of home ownership alive.”
The website continued:
“It's not what you might expect in the home-loan business. But that's exactly the point. We’re a home loan company that’s changing the industry forever. It’s about time someone did.”
The minute-plus long video builds on that ambitious vision, flashing a series of mission statements for Mr. Cooper.
“So who is Mr. Cooper?,” the video begins.
“He’s part CEO. Part revolutionary,” the video continues. “He’s a challenger of convention. A champion for his customers. A cheerleader for his team. And the lender people will brag about.”
But that’s not all. Next the video tells viewers even more about Mr. Cooper.
“He believes in keeping things simple, telling the truth, focusing on the solution,” the video states. “He despises the status quo; the easy way out; and cauliflower.”
One would have to assume the cauliflower line is meant as a joke, indicative of the tongue-and-cheek brand effort behind Mr. Cooper.
The video continues to describe what Mr. Cooper is about.
“He’s here to remove fear, eliminate doubt, and build a home loan company people actually like,” the video states. “One known for transparency. Not small print. Helpful advice. Not confusing jargon. Lending a hand. Not turning his back.”
Mr. Cooper is here to “transform an industry,” the video claims, before repeating the line, “He’s here to keep the dream of homeownership alive,” which appears to be one of the main bullet points of the Mr. Cooper movement.
“He is Mr. Cooper,” the video concludes. “Goodbye status quo. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Click on the image below to see a look at what MrCooper.com looked like before it disappeared.
See you at the crossroads, MrCooper.com. We hardly knew ya.