Blend is a company that has enabled major financial institutions to bridge the gap between lender and consumer, and as a result dramatically reducing the time it takes to finalise a mortgage.
Simply put, Blend does all the work up front; the financial institution puts all of its requirements on the Blend system, and then the enquiry and application process is run by the Blend system rather than brokers and consultants having to act as conduits. There is less paperwork, and generic questions can be answered much more quickly, in fact most can be answered instantly. This means that every interaction with loan officers is productive, and the process maintains its speed rather than the usual back-and-forth required when middlemen are involved. It means that mortgage brokers can act as extensions of the financial institutions they are working with, rather than people who fill in forms, and send them through for approval.
However, Blend is taking its system to the next level with a mobile app which was released last week.
According to the company, the idea for the app came out of necessity. The business itself is based on a simple idea – that loans take too long to get approved and the reason for delays is based in communication. The Blend system helped companies streamline their processes, but through this another, more human, issue became apparent. Loan officers are very rarely at their desk, and as a result email and phone enquiries are usually delayed. These types of delays, while being regarded as, “normal,” by clients can add half a day or a day to a loan process, which, when extrapolated over an entire business is an incredible expense, and can be seen as a substantial service oppportunity.
The Blend application will empower loan officers to respond to everything in real-time. If a phone enquiry is made, the loan officer can click on the app and respond instantly to the query. No delays, no issues and no danger of misinformation. The question is asked clearly, and answered simply, and straight from the horse’s mouth. When sitting with a client over coffee, the loan officer simply needs to take out their phone and they can review details or offer advice based on real-time information rather than the traditional, “I’ll come back to you on that.”
The company has generous estimations as to how much time this will save consultants and brokers, and how much money it will save businesses but it’s obvious there will be a significant improvement. It’s also possible that this business could be a substantial disruptor in an industry that has maintained its processes for a long time. Backed by tier 1 VC funding from the likes of Founders Fund, Thrive Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, the business has raised $60 million so far, and won’t be concerned about raising more.
As the technology improves, and, through that, customer expectations increase, mortgage brokers and loan officers will be empowered to increase their service levels and embrace the technology. Real-time interaction, and being able to communicate directly with the financial institution should be a huge advantage for everyone.