Quicken Loans, the company that showed a mortgage business can operate successfully without face-to-face interaction with borrowers, is now giving customers the option to work without human loan officers.
The company has rolled out a self-service mortgage application and processing system called Rocket Mortgage. It allows a consumer to fill out information online that they would normally have to give verbally to a salesperson.
Previously, Quicken customers could only do basic calculations and get loan quotes online. Then they would have to talk (via long distance) to a loan officer to provide information about the property, plus their income and assets. The person would also have to pull their credit report before being able to provide them with product options.
With Rocket Mortgage, the client has the option of doing all of that work himself or herself. Once that is done, the consumer is presented with product options, "completely personalized based on the way they answer the questions and the data they import" from their bank, said Regis Hadiaris, the Rocket Mortgage product lead. Because the data comes directly from the bank, it speeds up the underwriting process.
"Up until now [consumers] had to talk to a mortgage banker to get that personalized information and get their options. Now they can see all of their options online," Hadiaris said. It can be used for both purchase and refinance applications.
To be clear: Quicken is keeping its signature call centers in place, realizing that not everyone is comfortable doing business completely online. (The company once again ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power & Associates survey released on Nov. 16.)
After Quicken Loans analyzes the Rocket Mortgage user's data and gives a response, the consumer can then customize the offering via a loan program called Yourgage. The consumer is able to pick a term from eight to 30 years and adjust the loan pricing through reducing their costs or their rate, Hadiaris said.
They then click a button to see if they are approved contingent on underwriting, and if they are, they can lock in the rate themselves.
"All of the power and control is in our clients' hands," he said.
If at any point in the process the consumer desires the assistance of a loan officer, there are links where they can chat with a person.
Consumers can access Rocket Mortgage on computer, tablet or mobile device.
Quicken isn't first to the do-it-yourself mortgage field. Lenda, a San Francisco-based mortgage banker, started doing business in the summer of 2014 with a self-service refinance process and has done $60 million of loans in California, Washington and Oregon.
Now, it has raised $2 million in seed funding from investors led by Lakestar, an investor in technology companies in the U.S. and Europe, plus Rubicon Ventures and 500 Startups.
"Consumer behavior will continue to shift and the favor will go entirely to online options like Lenda," declared CEO Jason van den Brand.
He noted the difference in size between his company and Quicken Loans. "We're a team of 12 who have worked our butts off going up against these Goliath mortgage companies and legacy banks. And while we don't have $100 million marketing budgets, 450 software engineers, C-list celebrity testimonials or an army of loan officers in call centers, we do have really happy customers and far superior prices. And this is all due to the technology that we've built, that we've so heavily invested in," van den Brand said.
Corrected November 24, 2015 at 3:40PM: A passage in an earlier version of this story misspelled a Quicken Loans executive's surname. He is Regis Hadiaris. An editing error was to blame.