Tech Firms Reap Growth in Online Lending
As technological advances in the mortgage industry push the origination world online more and more, software developers are advancing and developing to meet lender demand and, as a result, seeing a surge of new clients. Wisconsin-based Mortgagebot, which develops Web-based software as a service (SAAS) for mortgage lenders, said it added 200 new clients in 2009, bringing its total client base to nearly 950 organizations. With the new clients came a 25% increase in revenue in 2009 compared to 2008; further boosted by a 25% increase in overall contract value for new sales. Web-based mortgage origination platforms are traditionally believed to be primarily used for refinance loans. But not anymore, said Mortgagebot president and CEO Scott Happ. While refinance applications accounted for 55% of applications initiated on Mortgagebot Web sites, the remaining 45% were first mortgage purchase loans. “Lenders of all sizes are realizing that they need to provide an efficient and satisfying mortgage-application experience for every borrower, regardless of which business channel—or channels—borrowers prefer to use,” said Happ. Each of Mortgagebot’s clients has a Web site customized to the lender’s needs. Web traffic has shot up, which in turn is encouraging more lenders to step up their online presence. In all, more than 37m users access a Mortgagebot client Web site for their mortgage needs, the company said. That’s a 48% increase from 2008 and 740% higher than in 2004. And with more people turning to the web for mortgage research, more applications are originating online. Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgages are increasingly becoming the preferred mortgage product for many because of the low down payment requirement. The FHA recently declared at the American Securitization Forum 2010 that it's market share grew from 3% to 30% of the total origination market. A fact not lost on software developers. Another technology firm, California-based PriceMyLoan, upgraded its SAAS to integrate with the FHA’s Technology Open to Approved Lenders (TOTAL) Mortgage Scorecard, creating an single-source platform for lenders to originate, underwrite and price FHA loans. PriceMyLoan said its clients who use the firm’s automated underwriting and pricing engine now have direct access to FHA eligibility and credit scoring, improving efficiency and cutting costs. “PriceMyLoan's ability to interface with HUD for FHA decisions is important both for lenders and borrowers,” said Gigi Campbell, national sales director for PriceMyLoan. “FHA's decision to allow more vendors like us to interface with TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard makes FHA lending more accessible. Lenders can use our technology to improve the speed and accuracy of their FHA loan decisions, and borrowers benefit from lower costs and faster approvals.” And the future looks bright as Web-based mortgage lending is set to make greater gains in 2010, especially with the announcement that Google (GOOG) is entering the space with a price engine of its own. As HousingWire previously reported, Google partnered with a number of tech firms to create a search device for mortgage rates. Tech firms tell HousingWire Google’s entry in the market will help “legitimize” the online lending process, helping the movement gain momentum, and driving more business to their clients. Write to Austin Kilgore. The author held no relevant investments.