loanDepot delivers high-tech and high-touch service
The hot housing market of recent years has highlighted the importance of being able to move with lightning speed. Wait too long, and you could miss out on a buying opportunity. loanDepot pairs high-tech and high-touch services that can give homebuyers the speed and agility they need to better navigate any market cycle.
loanDepot was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Anthony Hsieh, who had previously founded two mortgage companies: LoansDirect.com, which he sold to E*Trade in 2001, and HomeLoanCenter.com, which he sold to LendingTree in 2004. Each of those companies was known to be on the forefront of product and technical innovation, and Hsieh parlayed those experiences to develop a technology platform at loanDepot that streamlines the mortgage process.
“The online application is very easy, customer friendly and incredibly fast,” says Jonathan Kosow, loanDepot branch manager for the New York City area. On average, it takes seven minutes to fill out a mortgage application, and customers can do so from anywhere with a computer, tablet or phone.
Kosow further explained that the loanDepot system uses AI when uploading things like tax returns and other documents to automatically extract information on income and assets. That automation allows loan officers to spend more quality time with their individual clients to provide information and answer questions rather than filling out forms. Once loanDepot has all the documentation from a client, the application can move into the underwriting phase in as little as 24-48 hours.
“Feedback from clients has been very positive. They always know what is going on, where their application is at during the process, and they can handle most of their transactions from wherever they happen to be,” says Lance Tarhan, a senior mortgage loan consultant at loanDepot in New York City.
Focus on personal service
loanDepot’s commitment to client service is one of the reasons David Rodriguez decided to leave his prior job at one of the country’s top banks and join loanDepot as a loan consultant in New York City. Oftentimes, notes Rodriguez, there is a lot of pressure at the big banks to be constantly generating a pipeline of new business and cross-selling a variety of different financial products, which leaves little time to interact with clients. At loanDepot, there is a person and not a “bot” ready to pick up the phone. “Most of my clients are first-time homebuyers in the New York City market, which is one of the hardest markets to buy a house in. So, working with experts is important,” he says.
In an initial phone call with a new client, Rodriguez spends 30 to 45 minutes getting to know the individual or couple to better understand their needs as well as explaining how a mortgage works and what it takes to get a mortgage. Equally important for New York City buyers, he also offers valuable insights on what they need to get approved by a co-op or condo board. That personal service is possible because of loanDepot’s strong technology platform as well the processing teams and personal assistants, all of which help to enable and support consistent high-touch service.
The experience and guidance a loanDepot consultant offers can make a big difference in the home-buying process. When the home buying market is white hot, an offer with a contingency will be disadvantaged. However, when markets shift, sellers may be more accepting of certain mortgage contingencies. “That’s where having local market knowledge locally really helps us to shine,” says Rodriguez.
loanDepot loan officers also work closely with the customer’s real estate agent. “We create that team between the client, the real estate agent and the loanDepot loan consultant so the client can go out and make a very strong offer to win that home and complete the transaction,” he says.
Fully end-to-end process
A key part of loanDepot’s high-touch service is working with clients every step of the way and communicating updates throughout the entire process. Whether they’re ordering a new pair of shoes online or reserving an Uber, today’s consumers expect real-time updates that track the status and location of their purchases. loanDepot understands how important it is to make sure clients know exactly where things stand with their pending mortgage and communicates with weekly updates or automatic notifications as key milestones in the process are completed.
The required time to get a home under contract for sale in New York City is 10 days. During that time, loanDepot gathers all needed documentation so the process can move smoothly and efficiently.
There are five critical milestones in the journey to acquiring a mortgage:
Credit, income and asset reviews are typically approved within three to four days. loanDepot also works with a pre-selected group of local appraisers to get orders for an appraisal out within a few days as well as provide a questionnaire related to the purchase to help facilitate completion of the appraisal within two weeks.
A mortgage has so many different pieces to it, which is why we like to break it up into those different milestones, says Rodriguez. By educating clients that there are five steps, and then updating ‘We have three out of five, or four out of five completed, our clients are able to better visualize how their purchase is moving forward.
loanDepot is one of the largest publicly traded mortgage lenders in the country, and yet it is able to maintain a small lender feel in terms of client experience, adds Tarhan. Tarhan worked with one client late last year after she became frustrated with her previous lender. She needed to close her FHA purchase before the end of the year, and she turned to loanDepot for help on December 8.
Tarhan leveraged LoanDepot’s digital process and document control systems that had her mortgage application approved and completed in time to close on her new home on Christmas Eve. Those success stories are helping to generate more referral business from both homebuyers and their real estate agents.
“The word is out, and the buzz is growing,” says Tarhan. “Our referral sources know we can move fast and be very effective in serving the needs of their clients.”