LoanDepot woos mortgage brokers with new closing capabilities

LoanDepot, known largely for direct-to-consumer lending, is upping its game with mortgage brokers with enhancements to its mello broker portal that the company says will speed up loan closings.

LoanDepot Wholesale’s mello brokerage portal upgrades include “close connection” features, including:

  • Closing validations inform brokers of the steps to take before planning the close
  • Final charges can be entered, updated and approved, and a closing cash summary is provided
  • When the validations are satisfied, brokers can schedule closings, then update or cancel closing dates
  • Brokers can generate information pre-closure package to review documents and accurately calculate registration fees
  • “Before documents” terms can be viewed and pending documents downloaded

“In today’s market, speed can be a key factor in the home buying process,” loanDepot CRO Jeff Walsh said in a declaration. “The enhanced functionality of our brokerage portal enables loanDepot’s wholesale partners to better serve their buyers, providing a faster and more intuitive closing process.”

LoanDepot makes most of its loans through its retail channel, which includes a direct-to-consumer channel launched in 2010, and through a network of local loan officers launched in 2013 with the acquisition of Immortgage, and expanded through the 2015 acquisition of Mortgage Master.

During the pandemic, loanDepot has seen a boom in mortgage refinances through its retail channel. But its partner network accounts for a growing percentage of LoanDepot’s business as the refi boom wanes, even as demand for purchase loans remains strong.

LoanDepot mortgage originations by channel

Source: LoanDepot data regulatory filings compiled by Inman

LoanDepot’s partner network comprises three segments: joint ventures with home builders, referral relationships and loanDeposit Wholesale, the company’s third-party origination division serving mortgage brokers and correspondent lenders.

Although loanDepot does not break down the channels by segments, the partner channel as a whole represented $7 billion in loans during the third quarter, i.e. approximately 22% of total creations. This represents an increase from the 19% of creations during the first and second quarters of the year, when the refi boom was still strong.

While mortgage lenders switch from highly profitable refinances and compete for homebuyers to grow their purchase lending business, mortgage brokers have local connections that make them a major source of business. LoanDepot founder and CEO Anthony Hsieh said the company’s $80 million end-to-end digital lending platform, mello, will allow it to scale its operations “in a very efficient way”.

Lenders hoping to compete for business by competing on price are investing in technology that can automate much of the application and underwriting process.

Like loanDepot, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, Rocket Mortgage, is primarily known as a direct lender, with consumers flocking to its website and app to take out loans. But Rocket is making its mortgage origination technology available to banks and credit unions as an end-to-end “mortgage as a service” through the Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.

Rocket Pro TPO – the division of Rocket Mortgage that works with mortgage brokers – has launched several initiatives aimed at courting mortgage brokers, including tools to help them build and maintain relationships with real estate agents.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has a new self-service platform for mortgage brokers, BOLT, that automatically classifies and extracts information from documents to provide initial approvals to qualified borrowers in as little as 15 minutes.

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Email Matt Carter