Home Loan Center Inc., a unit of Tree.com Inc. that does business as LendingTree Loans, has agreed to farm out customer service, document preparation, and other work to International Business Machines Corp.
The companies are set to announce the agreement today. They did not give the length of the contract except to say it was "multiyear."
Allison Vail, a spokeswoman for Tree.com, said no jobs will be eliminated as a result of the agreement. LendingTree Loans will continue to perform the same functions in-house, she said. Having IBM handle some of the work will "help us going forward with market ebbs and flows." (Through a combination of layoffs and attrition, Tree.com has already reduced its head count by nearly three-quarters since May 2007, to 750 employees, Ms. Vail said.)
Eric Ray, IBM's general manager for the financial services sector, said in an interview Thursday that LendingTree Loans will be the first client to use his company's technology to give applicants "a real-time, online view of where their loan is in the process."
IBM said it also will coordinate closings and review loans after they have closed for the online lender, which originates conforming, jumbo, and Federal Housing Administration mortgages.
Tree.com was spun off from IAC/InterActiveCorp of New York in August. The Charlotte company's best-known business generates leads for lenders through the LendingTree.com and GetSmart.com sites. It bought Home Loan Center in 2003.
IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., began offering technology and outsourcing services to home lenders last year. The vendor has disclosed one other mortgage client, Coastal Federal Credit Union of Raleigh, but Mr. Ray said that "many of the top 10 lenders are using our platform."