The Mortgage Transparency Train Has Arrived…
Anyone who’s read my writings either here at Active Rain or on my ‘outside’ blog The XBroker over the past 18 months knows I’m a pretty opinionated guy when it comes to how traditional mortgage (and real estate industry) business works. It’s probably safe to say that I’m an outspoken critic too, but that’s because I’m very passionate about my beliefs and convictions. Although I’ve had my share of ‘run-ins’ and probably made a few adversaries along the way (as well as many many friends), my intent has always been to spur thought and compel the industries I was deeply involved with into embracing change for the betterment of all.
My rants typically revolve around the need for greater transparency …radical transparency…in the mortgage industry, centered around the belief that consumers and real estate agents should be afforded unabated access to wholesale direct, unmanipulated mortgage rates and their actual costs. In my opinion, this information was too valuable to be kept in a vault or subjected to a conflicted 3rd parties idea of what they thought a consumer should see and be sold. So I decided to do something about it…
On Monday June 14th 2008 at 2pm PST I (rather) quietly launched a website and product called RateSpeed.
The easiest way to explain this, is to ask myself some questions:
What is it? An anonymous, automated, transparent, mortgage program and interest rate pricing pre-qualification Search Engine widget, thingy.
Why is this important? For the first time anyone can transparently access wholesale direct mortgage interest rates and program quotes without having to talk to a licensed mortgage professional first. Yep, this is important to a lot of people.
How is this possible? RateSpeed is a completely objective, non-conflicted 3rd party piece of software, so we configure and maintain the flow of mortgage rate and price information between the consumer and the wholesale direct source to insure it’s 100% transparent.
This is the most important value proposition RateSpeed has to offer both consumers and professionals. Maintaining the integrity and purity of the information flow between the wholesale market and the consumers eyeballs open’s a clear channel where consumers can shop for a mortgage based on service and experience rather than ‘What’s my rate?’ Since you get to see exactly the same information a broker or banker does, you never have to wonder if they can really ‘do better’.
So, you’re trying to put the mortgage professional out of business? No, RateSpeed is a licensable piece of software that is embeddable on a qualified mortgage professionals web or blog-site. The good mortgage pro stays where they should be, firmly in the middle of the transaction to offer advice and close the loan. We do require the mo-pro to offer a flat fee for service to the consumers who want to retain their services via their RateSpeed application. How much this flat fee is, is completely up to the mortgage professional.
So, you’re a lead generator? No and Yes. No we don’t buy or sell leads. Yes we create leads for the mortgage professional by offering consumers the confidence of knowing the information they see is 100% transparent and deliverable from this professional, so when they are done shopping they’re buying from this professional.
Why is this different again? You know the drill: A consumer or real estate professional needs a rate quote they have to call or go online and ‘shop’ a bunch of mortgage professionals hoping to find the lowest rate at the lowest cost. Shopping for clothes may be fun, but shopping for a mortgage is a confusing, frustrating, inefficient, and very COSTLY process for both the consumer and mortgage professional. Neither one trusts the other to provide good information; everyone kinda looks at each other with that suspicious evil eye.
This is where RateSpeed steps in, kind of like e-Harmony, using ‘19 dimensions of credit, property, and financial compatibility’, RateSpeed automatically matches consumers with a program, rate, price as well as a trustworthy ‘date’ to accompany them to the closing table.
Consumers: Shop as much as you like without having to talk to a person, contact the mo-pro when you see the rate and price you like and are ready to do buisness.
Mortgage Professionals: Get shopped all day long without having to talk to every ‘tire kicker’. Spend more time helping your current clients. The consumer who does contact you likes what they see and is ready to share some thoughts and explore a deeper relationship. Think about it, you get really cool mortgage rate trending data, a customized rate pricing aggregator, a consumer shopping assistant, and a quality organic lead generation application all in one...smashing!
Real Estate Professionals: Contact your mortgage professional, tell them to get on the RateSpeed program and that you want a RateSpeed thingy on your site, we can embed the application for you too with their consent. While all the data goes back to the mortgage professional, you can represent to your potential and current clients that the mortgage rate quotes they get from RateSpeed on your site are the most accurate and transparent in the marketplace. What’s better is that you know that any of your clients who retain your RateSpeed licensed broker or banker are going to be in good hands, which typically means less headache for you.
What’s next? I’m looking for 10 licensed mortgage professional beta testers from Active Rain to pioneer hosting RateSpeed on their sites, for free. I’m not looking for just anyone, I’m looking for the mortgage professionals who can provide constructive criticism and sound suggestions, for they will have a say in new functionality features that go into future iterations of RateSpeed, and be credited with such. I’m not 100% on exactly how to select the 10 members, and so working with Bob to come up with something cool. There are huge early adopter advantages here ‘wink-wink’…
In closing, I know I’ve waded deep into the waters of self-promotion here but I’ve put in my time, blogging almost 500 pages of material over the last 18 months to give and gain the invaluable advice from the collective wisdom of this and other wise crowds. The exchanges weren’t always pleasant but I learned a little something from every one of them. There was a much different plan in the beginning for RateSpeed, it was from the feedback I received in many forms from many members of Active Rain that fostered and molded what RateSpeed has ultimately come to be. For this I’m very grateful and just too excited to share, so I’m willing to risk sounding a little too promotional. That and I think this product/service can help change the mortgage industry for the better, for everyone. :)