EasyKnock partners with FinLocker to bolster consumer financial health

The FinLocker app includes a ’personalized suite of tools’ that mesh well with EasyKnock's goal to empower consumers

Home equity solutions and sale-leaseback platform EasyKnock announced a partnership on Tuesday with financial fitness and homeownership platform FinLocker that will make FinLocker’s tools available free of charge to EasyKnock customers.

The FinLocker app includes a “personalized suite of tools“ designed to help consumers improve their financial health, the company explained in its announcement. This is accomplished through higher credit scores and a greater ability to save for down payments, ultimately positioning people to more easily qualify for a mortgage.

These tools include personalized budgeting through existing bank accounts, financial goal setting, credit tracking, insights into the home purchase process and guidance to “achieve mortgage readiness.“ FinLocker can also send push notifications, notifying consumers of changes to their credit scores, updates to property values and more.

“Our customers are not a monolith — they come to us with a wide range of financial goals,“ EasyKnock CEO and co-founder Jarred Kessler, a 2023 HousingWire Vanguard, said in a statement. “As a powerful, data-driven tool for people looking to improve their financial resiliency, FinLocker is an ideal complement to the EasyKnock offering.”

“This is an extremely challenging time for Americans who either own or want to own a home,” said Brian Vieaux, president and chief operating officer of FinLocker. “Our comprehensive, intuitive platform is an answer to that challenge. EasyKnock goes above and beyond to support their customers, and it is immensely gratifying to provide a service that supports financial health.”

Through its sale-leaseback option, EasyKnock offers homeowners a path to convert home equity into cash while remaining in place as renters. Customers retain the right to repurchase their homes or direct the company to “sell the home on the open market,“ after which they “may receive any applicable future home appreciation minus our Buyout Cost and your real estate agent commission,“ the company states on its website.

EasyKnock has been busy over the past few months.

In April, it announced a partnership with rental platform Pinata. EasyKnock automatically reports the on-time rent payments of Pinata customers to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

This ties into initiatives launched by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow rent-payment data into the underwriting process, making it easier for renters to become homeowners.

In December 2023, EasyKnock acquired home equity investment (HEI) platform Balance Homes. Two months later, it closed a $28 million Series D funding round that was backed by the venture capital wing of Northwestern Mutual. And in May, it purchased the assets of HomePace, another competitor in the burgeoning HEI space.

Late last year, the company also ran afoul of regulators in Massachusetts, with the state attorney general’s office alleging that EasyKnock violated consumer protection laws and landlord-tenant laws.

The AG accused EasyKnock of engaging in ”an unfair and deceptive equity-skimming scheme that involved purchasing the homes of cash-strapped consumers at bargain-basement prices and then renting them back to the consumers, at times for unfair rents.” The company agreed to a settlement in which it ended its sale-leaseback program in Massachusetts and paid the state $200,000, among other remediations.

FinLocker has also experienced recent growth. Last month, it closed a $17 million Series B funding round through Radian Group and its existing shareholders. The capital will allow the company to create new tools for current and prospective homeowners.

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