Digital mortgage lender Better Home & Finance faces a $1.86 million suit for breaching advertising placement agreements with digital and print publisher Meredith Operations Corporation.
Better failed to pay for two “insertion orders” – agreements where Meredith would place ads on its digital platforms in exchange for the mortgage lender’s fee – from the summer to the winter of 2022, according to a filing in the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York in March.
Among the $2.1 million Better agreed to pay Meredith across two ad placement agreements, the digital lender still owes the publication company $1.86 million, Meredith alleged.
“Meredith seeks entry of judgment for Better Mortgage’s breach of contract, awarding payment of damages in the amount of compensatory damages due and owing to Meredith, along with attorneys’ fees and other costs incurred in connection with Meredith’s efforts to collect amounts due and owing, and pre- and post judgment interest,” the suit said.
Better’s advertisements were featured on more than 20 of Meredith’s brands, including Martha Stewart, Better Home & Gardens, Real Simple and Southern Living, agreements attached in the filing showed.
Better denied allegations in its April filing. The court issued a protective order to protect the confidentiality of nonpublic and competitively sensitive information for both parties on Monday.
“While we can’t comment on the particulars of active litigation, our answer in the case states that we disagree with Meredith Corporation’s position,” a spokesperson at Better said in an e-mailed response.
Meredith Operations and attorneys for both parties didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The digital lender that debuted on Nasdaq last week, reported a net loss of $135.4 million in the first half of 2023, an improvement from nearly $400 million in the same period last year, according to its 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.
Its filing showed Better funded a loan volume of $1.7 billion across 4,768 loans in the first six months of 2023. Of the total production volume in the first half of 2023, refis accounted for $131 million and purchase loans consisted of $1.6 billion.
Better, which went public after merging with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Aurora Acquisition Corp. on Thursday, plans to focus on originating profitable business while pulling back from unprofitable channels — including its real estate arm.
Better will also target the mortgage marketplace and white-label technology models, CEO Vish Garg said in a previous interview with HousingWire.
The firm ranked as the 59th largest mortgage lender in the country in the first quarter, data from Inside Mortgage Finance showed.