A Seattle company says the interactive Internet service it designed to help brokers submit subprime loan applications more efficiently is gaining momentum.
Lenders Interactive Online Network estimated that 15,000 submissions for about $2 billion of subprime loans have been made using the system since it was started in May 1996. The company estimates it is handling more than $100 million of submissions per month.
"A broker can go through a category list to find a loan they want," said Joe T. Ringer, executive vice president of Lenders Interactive. "You then call up the category and see all the lenders that offer that kind of loan. The broker fills out a form on-line and sends it electronically to the lenders."
The idea is that brokers can obtain indications of interest on B, C, and D loans quickly without sifting through piles of rate sheets.
The system lets specialty lenders review the property type, credit grade, and time on a job, with the borrowers' personal information stripped from the submission.
Lenders pay $150 per month to gain access to the site, which includes loan leads and rate sheets. Broker fees are $50 per month, with reduced rates for corporate accounts.
Mr. Ringer said the business began in 1990 as Mortgage Information Systems Inc. The company initially sold software that had all of the daily rate sheets on one data base.
"We couldn't develop a search engine for subprime because you can't clearly define the rate and fee for transactions, because everyone has their own guidelines and prices according to the actual deal in that market," Mr. Ringer said.
Rick Merlino, wholesale manager for Evergreen Money Source, Seattle, who has been using the Lenders Interactive system since the nonconforming program began, said the hypothetical-scenario system has resulted in enough closed loans to pay for the company's Internet efforts.
"The value of the tool itself has an awful lot to do with brokers and how they use it," Mr. Merlino said. "More and more, we see the quality of the scenarios coming up.
Brokers are using the system as more of a tool, rather than a last-ditch effort to throw something on the Web and see if there are any takers."
Mr. Merlino said he instantaneously receives e-mail and fax messages when a broker submits a loan. He follows up on every broker proposal to see if the broker has any other loans he might be interested in.
"It's very difficult to do a broad search with nonconforming loans because they're all so different," Mr. Merlino said. "If a broker were using the network for more traditional subprime stuff, he would see a lot of return.
But I definitely think this is the way of the future."