Blend moves further beyond mortgage tech
The mortgage software company Blend says it has added support for personal loans, credit cards and specialty-vehicle loans to its offerings.
Blend, which recently raised $75 million in a Series F round of funding, has been pursuing a broader strategy to provide a consistent, unified experience across mortgages, consumer loans and deposit-account openings.
Blend began as a provider of mortgage origination software. Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and M&T Bank are among the 250 lenders that use Blend’s software to offer digital mortgages. Over the past six years, the San Francisco company has added support for home equity loans, deposit accounts and auto loans to its platform.
Chris Kay, executive vice president of consumer banking, business banking and marketing at M&T, said Blend has helped simplify and streamline M&T’s mortgage process to make it more user-friendly, and about 70% of mortgage customers use the digital platform.
“That’s strong adoption, which says there's a real need and comfort on the part of our customers to interact with the bank digitally,” Kay said.
It has also taken 19 days out of the mortgage process, which typically is now 60 days end to end at M&T, Kay said. The Blend software has also been useful in handling COVID-19-related forbearance and payment deferrals.
A few months ago, M&T asked Blend to help it offer Paycheck Protection Program loans.
“We continue to look for opportunities to extend that relationship,” Kay said. “We have confidence in the extensibility and scalability of their platform.” M&T is not ready to announce any new products it’s launching on the Blend system at this time, he said.
Nima Ghamsari, Blend’s CEO and a co-founder, said large companies like M&T have many needs across many product lines.
A bank using Blend’s mortgage software can quickly add support for other products by just dragging and dropping software components, he said. A technology team doesn’t even have to be involved.
“One thing I'm really excited about is this concept of one-tap approvals,” Ghamsari said. “As a customer, I can log in to M&T and see the six products that I'm already approved for, because my data is already there. As a consumer, I can understand what the bank can do for me in real time.”
Real-time approvals are the direction banking is generally going, he said.
“It's like the bank is going to be completely transparent, and that transparency is going to lead to greater access to credit,” Ghamsari said. “That means more and more consumers will take advantage of a system that's really built for them.”