A commercial mortgage conduit is promoting its Web site as a tool for banks to compete in real estate lending.
Bridger Commercial Funding of Mill Valley, Calif., started operating its site, BridgerFunding.com, three weeks ago. Like many commercial mortgage Web sites, Bridger's enables the user to submit a loan application and get a price quote online.
Bridger officials said a key feature is that the site is tailored for use by commercial banks: People can use the site to get quotes, but they will be referred to a nearby bank that works with Bridger.
Bridger originates 10-year, fixed-rate real estate loans exclusively through commercial banks and securitizes them on Wall Street. Founded two years ago, it originated about $200 million last year.
When a bank loan officer or other user enters data, Bridgerfunding.com's pricing engine matches the information with current pricing for that type of property in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market. It gives users "a hard quote, subject to normal due diligence," said Greg Saunders, an executive vice president at Bridger.
Once the information is validated, the borrower can fill out a full application and lock in the rate. This distinguishes the site from the many that give users a "soft" or ballpark quote, Mr. Saunders said. Other sites require users to submit more information to get real quotes, he said.
Most of those sites act as online brokers, basing preliminary quotes on the pricing criteria in lenders' databases. "Since we're a lender, we're a lot closer to the pricing in the market," Mr. Saunders said. Bridger plans to license its pricing engine to banks that want to use it on their own Web sites.
Another selling point for its site, Bridger says, is its library of 350 documents used to close loans in 30 states. The company's correspondents can download the templates, saving the time and expense of obtaining forms.
The site also is intended to help Bridger reduce its costs. The online service "allows us to handle a larger pipeline without increasing staff significantly," said Bob Schonefeld, Bridger's chief executive. "We're not spending time doing pricing tasks and documentation tasks."