Tree.com is attacking an anticipated decline in refinance volume with an increase in originator capacity. Two more firms announced their participation in Google's mortgage lead service, and lead companies are fine-tuning their Internet technology for maximum traffic and conversion rates -- while others are offering free resources to generate prospects.
Tree.com said in its 2010 guidance statement that it expects national consumer refinance activity to be lower, which hurt revenue from both LendingTree Loans and the Lending Exchange. But the company hopes to capture more loan volume by increasing loan officer capacity and using lower consumer volume to maximize pricing opportunities. It anticipates revenues will rise around 5 percent during 2010 from last year -- an estimated range of $227 million to $237 million.
Just last month, Tree.com announced it had completed multiple settlement negotiations relating to intellectual property litigation. It anticipates it will record $16.3 million of charges stemming from the settlement. The Charlotte, N.C.-based firm also announced a stock repurchase program for an amount up to $10 million.
Two more firms announced their participation in Google's mortgage lead program.
Detroit. Mich.-based Kaleidico last month announced its lead management software, Sales Manager, was being integrated with Google's AdWords Comparison Ads feature, which was formally announced last month. Sales Manager connects advertisers and mortgage quote seekers through an anonymized phone number for immediate follow up.
Meanwhile, OpenClose Mortgage Software announced Google was utilizing its loan product and pricing engine, DecisionAssist, to display lender rate data for Internet users searching for "mortgage" on Google.com. The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based mortgage software solutions company said it is the only pricing and product engine and loan origination system tapped to provide loan rate and fee data feeds for Google's AdWords Comparison Ads for mortgages.
Home-Account Mortgage Engine was utilized by Refinance.com, a Jan. 14 announcement indicated. The service, which was created with the help of "The Mortgage Professor," Jack M. Guttentag, helps loan prospects assess their credit and financial situation before a lender is recommended.
Home-Account's process includes grading the borrower after they answer a set of questions and a "soft-pull" credit report has been obtained. A passing grade for acceptable loans allows the process to continue, the consumer can lock a rate for 48 hours with participating lenders. A failing grade reverts the user to Home-Account.com for advice on ways to increase credit scores or otherwise help borrowers qualify for a higher grade loan.
Leads360 recently announced partnerships with PCLender.com and TARGUSinfo. And just last month, the company said they've found that technology plays a major role in cracking the conversion code for closing mortgage leads.
Los Angeles, Calif.-based Leads360 said customized lead management and automation are the chief factors for sales success.
Other alliances across the country include San Diego, Calif.-based Nationwide Marketing and direct lead company Mortgage Lead Vault. Nationwide said it will provide the technology and Internet marketing precision to connect qualified borrowers with online loan officers.
CommercialDeals.com was launched by LopinYukelis Corp., a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based start-up. A free lead resource, the company targets brokers, lawyers and other real estate finance professionals -- including investors and developers -- to post their deals and provide opportunities for lenders.
A new iPhone application, Mortgage RateFinder, was announced by Tree.com subsidiary LendingTree.com. The application allows prospective borrowers to get competing mortgage quotes without any personal information being shared. Users can choose to receive up to 30 different up-to-the-minute loan offers and request to be contacted by specific lenders.
Real Estate Educate hopes to generate prospective borrowers with the launch of Gohomebuyer.com. Borrower educational material is loaded with detail typically reserved for industry professionals.
We Save Homes Inc. announced it partnered with a major online lending exchange to generate loan modification leads.
MortgageSaver.org said its new design is simplified and allows for personalized service for all types of borrowers. The Houston, Texas-based company lures prospects with a free credit analysis, consultation and evaluation.