Could Google Become the Newest Reverse Mortgage Broker?

This week, Google launched its online mortgage shopping tool under its Google Compare brand, a platform that will allow prospective homebuyers to compare rate quotes among lenders. So far, Google has added two partners to the new service, one of which provides reverse mortgage leads.

Google Compare for mortgages connects lenders with borrowers online, enabling shoppers to search for mortgages on their smartphone or desktop computer to find real-time comparison of rate quotes from other lenders. Shoppers can also view ratings, reviews and other relevant information, including loan amount, estimated credit score or home value, to receive quotes that match their needs.

Joining the company in its launch are LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) and Zillow Group (NASDAQ: ZG).

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace that connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business. The company also provides an array of online tools and information to help consumers find the best loans, including traditional home loans, FHA loans, VA loans, home equity loans and reverse mortgages.

When searching for a mortgage-related term on Google, consumers are invited to the Google Compare Mortgages page within the search results. After users provide information such as loan amount and home value, for example, Google will then display relevant mortgage rates from LendingTree and other lending partners.

“The choice and convenience offered to consumers is imperative when loan shopping online, and Google Compare makes the process even easier,” said Doug Lebda, LendingTree founder and CEO, in a written statement. “Our expertise in providing an online real estate table experience combined with our strong lender network gives LendingTree a distinct advantage when reaching potential borrowers through the online channel. We congratulate Google on the launch and are excited to be working with Google at this early stage.”

The Google Compare integration also allows all lenders who use Zillow Group Mortgages for their marketing efforts to now reach audiences across Google, as well as Zillow’s portfolio of consumer brands, which include Trulia, Hotpads and StreetEasy. With this partnership, lenders on Zillow Group will now have their rates, ratings and reviews prominently displayed on Google’s search engine.

“Zillow Group and Google share the same vision to first and foremost empower consumers with comprehensive access to valuable information that helps make them confident, more informed financial decisions,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow Group. “This partnership allows us the unique opportunity to help borrowers by providing them with the industry’s most accurate, real-time information about home loans and mortgage lenders.”

So far, Google Compare for mortgages is currently only available in California, where Google has registered as a licensed mortgage broker.

Participation in Google Compare is based on a “flexible cost-per-lead model, however payment isn’t a factor in ranking or eligibility,” Google stated in a release. While the company will not be financing mortgages, it will aggregate quotes from local and national lenders it has partnered with, including Zillow and LendingTree.

It is unclear what lies in store for Google Compare for mortgages in terms of when to expect additional state rollout, or whether the company will begin to include reverse mortgages in its mortgage comparisons in the future, as Google declined a request for comment from RMD Tuesday afternoon.

The new comparison tool is the latest offering from Google in the mortgage space. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a mortgage calculator. That resource, however, did not include reverse mortgages.

Written by Jason Oliva

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