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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Goldman Sachs buys startup Clarity Money to bolster Marcus

Plus, more on the AIME/Blend partnership for brokers

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

Over the weekend, Goldman Sachs announced it purchased personal finance startup Clarity Money to boost Marcus, its online lending business.

Clarity Money, a free app that helps consumers manage personal finances, will be re-branded as Marcus by Goldman Sachs over time and that the purchase is expected to add more than 1 million customers to the Marcus business, Goldman Sachs explained in a press release.

“Consumers want a better way to manage their finances,” said Stephen Scherr, CEO of GS Bank and head of the Consumer & Commercial Banking Division. “Clarity Money has pioneered a consumer-centric approach to personal finance that will help Marcus continue to put power in the hands of consumers.”

Goldman Sachs launched Marcus in 2016, expanding its lending ventures beyond its traditional business model to include smaller, personal loans. Through Marcus, Goldman offers no-fee, fixed-rate unsecured personal loans, high-yield online savings accounts and certificates of deposit. In January, Marcus announced it was expanding to also offer home improvement loans.

Clarity Money CEO Adam Dell, who is the brother of Dell Technologies founder Michael Dell, will remain in charge at the company and will join Goldman Sachs as a partner. Marcus also welcomed Clarity Money’s team of engineers, designers and marketers, according to the Goldman's announcement.

“We started Clarity Money to help people make better financial decisions,” said Dell. “I am extremely impressed with the Marcus team and their commitment to transforming financial services for the benefit of the consumer."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Last week, we brought you news that the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts announced a new partnership with consumer lending technology platform Blend to make the company’s digital mortgage solution available to the mortgage broker community.  

As we reported, AIME is making the technology available to its broker members at no cost for a limited time through its partnerships with several wholesale lenders who have committed to adopting Blend’s digital mortgage technology.

Blend CEO Nima Ghamsari shared with HousingWire several reasons he thinks the partnership is a big deal for brokers in the industry. Ghamsari explained that partnering with large wholesale lenders enables Blend to impact a large swath of customers while the company’s technology will help brokers grow business by allowing them to focus on customers, wherever they are.

“We are launching this solution in partnership with a leading industry organization and three of the largest wholesale lenders. This will allow us to impact a large number of consumers, which will help further our vision for a more frictionless, compliant, and accessible consumer lending ecosystem,” he tells HousingWire. “The technology will help brokers grow their business by meeting their customers where they are, whether online, in person, or over the phone. This creates a much simpler experience throughout the entire loan process.”

“We’re excited about empowering brokers with the efficiencies gained from leveraging data and intelligence. Better data transparency for all parties involved will drive a more sustainable lending ecosystem with higher quality loans,” Ghamsari added.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or is it the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection?announced a final rule relating to servicers servicing certain borrowers facing bankruptcy. The final rule, which goes into effect this week, gives servicers “more latitude” when it comes to dealing with borrowers entering or exiting bankruptcy.

In an announcement about the final rule, the CFPB explained that its 2016 Mortgage Servicing Rules requires servicers to send modified periodic statements or coupon books to certain consumers in bankruptcy, beginning Thursday, April 19, 2018.

Previously, the servicing rules contained an exemption to the periodic statement rule for borrowers who have filed for bankruptcy. This new rule requires servicers to provide modified periodic statements to consumers entering or exiting bankruptcy.

Here’s the CFPB’s explanation on the issue in the final rule (which you can read in full here):

Among other things, the 2016 Mortgage Servicing Final Rule addresses Regulation Z’s periodic statement and coupon book requirements when a person is a debtor in bankruptcy. It includes a single-billing-cycle exemption from the requirement to provide a periodic statement or coupon book in certain circumstances after one of several specific triggering events occurs resulting in a servicer needing to transition to or from providing bankruptcy-specific disclosures.

The single-billing-cycle exemption applies only if the payment due date for that billing cycle is no more than 14 days after the triggering event. The 2016 Mortgage Servicing Final Rule also includes specific timing requirements for servicers to provide the next modified or unmodified statement or coupon book after the single-billing-cycle exemption has ended.

ICYMI: Last week, I attended LendIt Fintech USA in San Francisco (check out our podcast from the conference!). During the industry awards dinner for the annual conference, loanDepot Founder and CEO Anthony Hsieh was named Executive of the Year by LendIt. LendIt’s industry awards honor fintech market leaders, emerging innovators and top talent. Winners are determined by an independent panel of 33 industry judges. 

Speaking of conferences… This week, HousingWire Content Solutions Editor Sarah Wheeler is heading to Detroit for MBA's Technology Solutions Conference and Expo. Sarah will be keeping us apprised of what she sees during the three-day conference.  

Have a great week everyone!

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