U.S. Bank, Blend to roll out ‘one-tap preapprovals’

A major technology partner of some big-name lenders has unveiled a new offering designed to level the digital playing field with Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage.

Blend, the digital lending startup behind the online mortgage platforms of U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, among others, this week announced the launch of “one-tap preapprovals.” These enable lenders to quickly and digitally verify a borrower’s credentials, including assets, income, employment and liabilities. Blend claims to be able to do this “with source data and zero friction,” giving the borrower “instant access to verified buying power and the ability to easily generate a preapproval letter, further streaming the homebuying process.”

Tom Wind, U.S. Bank’s executive vice president of consumer lending, told CNBC that U.S. Bank had shortened its preapproval process to less than 30 minutes with Blend’s digital mortgage technology. Now, Wind told CNBC, the process has been truncated even further to three minutes — a bolder claim than Quicken’s “eight-minute mortgage” tagline when it first launched Rocket Mortgage in 2015.

“Over the last seven years, we’ve worked hand in hand with lenders and industry partners to build sophisticated financial technology that fully leverages consumer data and delivers a modern borrower experience,” said Nima Ghamsari, CEO and co-founder of Blend. “One-tap preapproval delivers the simplicity and transparency consumers expect, and is a crucial first step toward helping consumers achieve financial wellness.”

U.S. Bank will be one of the first Blend partners to implement the one-tap preapproval platform, with a rollout to consumers this year. A “phased rollout” to additional lenders will commence as soon as December 2019, according to a statement from Blend.

“The streamlined application process and transparent customer experience with one-tap moves us further in the right direction so that buying a home is the exciting experience it should be, not a dreaded one,” Wind said. “Further, one-tap preapprovals will give our customers certainty at the beginning of the homebuying process.”

It has been a busy and newsworthy year for Blend, which recently raised $130 million in funding. Earlier in the year, the company announced some high-profile additions to its leadership, with former Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos joining as president in January and former Pixar chief financial officer Ann Mather joining the company’s board in June. On the tech side, this past February, Blend announced new digital technology that significantly condenses the home equity loan process. This past May, U.S. Bank announced a sweeping overhaul to its digital mortgage platform, powered by Blend.

It’s also shaping up to be a profitable year for Blend. The company, which has some 130 lenders as clientele, receives a fee for every loan successfully processed through its platform. It processed $230 billion in mortgage applications in 2018 and, according to a press release, now processes more than $2 billion in loans each day.


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