AUSTIN, Tex. — RateGenius Inc., an online financial services company, has begun offering automobile loans in four Texas markets — Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

The company also said it has secured an additional $1 million in funding, and that about $4 million more will be raised by the end of the month.

Customers can use RateGenius’ three-month-old Web platform to obtain and refinance auto loans and obtain new ones for 1997 and newer car models. The system is designed to help consumers get a better interest rate and help lenders find pre-qualified, pre-screened applicants, RateGenius said.

The company, which is now licensed only in Texas, plans to expand its operations nationwide and to offer home mortgage and home equity loans, credit card consolidation, and other financial services.

“The RateGenius philosophy is simple: We’re harnessing the power of the Internet as a distribution channel and combining that with a traditional product — new car refinance,” said Cathy Ghiglieri, president and chief executive officer.

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