Once upon a time, a young woman named Goldilocks wanted to refinance her mortgage. She visited a website she saw advertised on TV and filled out a form for a rate quote. Some she received were too big. Others were too small. One was just right, so she allowed the website to pass her information along to the lender who offered it.
But Goldilocks didn’t live happily ever after with her new, lower-rate mortgage—at least not until several painful months had passed. The website sold her name and phone number to other marketers as well, and within days, she was fielding dozens of unsolicited calls. The lender she selected asked her to submit her information again, lost her supporting documents multiple times, and demanded she perform financial miracles before the close of her loan.
Too bad Goldilocks didn’t know about Lenda. Named one of NerdWallet’s Best Mortgage Lenders of 2018, the company offers borrowers a straightforward, streamlined, and transparent mortgage experience at a lower cost than traditional lenders and with a process that is entirely digital.
RewardExpert spoke with Jason van den Brand, Lenda’s founder and CEO, about the many factors that differentiate his San Francisco-based company from other online mortgage lenders.
Built for Homebuyers and Homeowners of All Ages
“I’ve been in the mortgage business for 14 years now,” van den Brand said. “I’ve learned that customers want to go online to find out how much mortgage they can qualify for, how much it will cost them, and what options are best for them. Most of the time, however, the websites they are consulting are selling off their information, and they are getting telemarketed to death.”
After assisting thousands of homeowners with purchase and refinance transactions, van den Brand also heard complaints about the reams of documentation required for most mortgages as well as the lack of transparency around rate quotes and closing costs.
“I felt like technology could solve all of those pain points pretty easily,” he explained. “And that was the first inspiration for Lenda.”
Though the technology he created with co-founder Elijah Murray was originally marketed to Millennials, a group van den Brand felt would be more responsive to the digital nature of the product, he broadened his advertising scope to older generations after a Thanksgiving trip to visit family in Philadelphia.
“My dad wasn’t digitally savvy,” van den Brand recalled. “He was always calling me and my younger brothers to ask how to do things on his computer. But when I went home, I found him relaxing on his Lazy Boy and using an iPad.”
His father was buying tennis balls off of Amazon, and van den Brand said, “He was shopping online, which meant he was comfortable entering his credit card information. It was one of those lightbulb moments. I realized it wasn’t just 20 and 30 somethings who would use Lenda but 40 and 50 somethings, too. I adjusted the marketing parameters for our advertisements and not long thereafter we got a customer. He was 56 years old, and he responded to a digital ad.”
Get a Rate Quote in Under One Minute and Close in Less Than 30 Days
Whether you’re planning to buy a home or want to refinance your mortgage, it takes less than one minute to get a rate quote through Lenda. In the case of a purchase, you’ll enter basic information about the home price, down payment, and your estimated credit score. If you’re refinancing, you’ll choose a refinance purpose—such as lower rate, pay off faster, or get cash—as well as plug in basic data about your current home, mortgage balance, and your estimated credit score.
Each rate quote includes upfront information—in an easy to read format—about the closing costs you may incur with the loan from points (to reduce your interest rate) and third-party service fees to government fees and taxes. Because Lenda is focused on efficient mortgage operations, they never charge application or underwriting fees.
“Once you select the rate you want, we won’t sell off your information,” van den Brand said. “From there, you’ll complete a simple application so that we can make sure you qualify for the loan. As we gather each piece of information, we use our technology to underwrite the data.”
Lenda will pull your credit report for free and provide you with your credit score. The company’s sophisticated technology will then further analyze your application in conjunction with the credit data to determine the additional documentation you’ll need to provide.
“I work for Lenda, so I get a W2,” van den Brand explained. “Our system is going to recognize that and ask for a W2 and a pay stub. The entire process—from the consumer finding Lenda online to Lenda requesting documentation—takes us 30 minutes. It has typically taken mortgage banks two or three weeks to accomplish this.”
All mortgage forms, from government-required disclosures to closing documents, can be signed digitally online. And every step of the process can be completed at a time convenient to the borrower, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Loans originated through Lenda typically take 25 days to close.
“You can log into your account at any time to see where you are in the mortgage process,” van den Brand added. “Everything is scheduled through our back-office technology and you’ll receive electronic communication. When working with other lenders, customers receive an average of 60 phone calls throughout the process. At Lenda, we’re not going to bug you on the phone. We give you the tools to self-navigate through your mortgage, and we let you do it.”
Available for Any Type of Property in 12 States
Lenda works with both traditionally employed and self-employed borrowers who have credit scores of at least 620. “We can work across any situation,” van den Brand added, “with properties that are primary residences, second homes, and investment properties as well as detached properties and attached properties like townhomes and condos.”
Lenda currently operates in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The company plans to offer mortgages in additional states soon.
To learn more about Lenda or request a rate quote, visit www.lenda.com.