INDUSTRY VETERAN BILL DALLAS DOESN'T NEED TO COMPETE with other lenders to take advantage of a unique strategy for mortgage origination. His approach with NewLeaf Lending is to help originators, employers and financial advisers by offering them a Web-based platform that's customizable for each user.
NewLeaf Lending was launched in fall 2013 as a division of Skyline Financial Corporation, Calabasas, California. It operates a consumer-direct channel as well as partners with companies and affinity groups, mortgage brokers and real estate agents.
Dallas is chief executive officer and founder, while Mark Attaway serves as chief information officer--and is the guiding force behind NewLeafs proprietary Intelligent Mortgage Platform[R] (iMP).
Understanding that consumers rely on the Internet when they buy a home is a basic starting point for NewLeaf. A profile of 2013 homebuyers released by the National Association of Realtors' (NAR), Chicago, shows that 90 percent of purchasers use the Internet at some point in their transaction.
Yet buyers also rely on professionals to guide them through the process. NAR notes that 89 percent of home shoppers who use the Internet work with a real estate agent as well.
"We don't try to bypass the Realtor and the loan officer," explains Dallas. Yet each adviser using iMP can establish "a different look and feel online" to strengthen his or her relationship with prospects, notes Attaway.
Needing a nudge
Loan applications are transformed into a series of questions on iMP, rather than appearing as an online form to be filled out. However, Attaway says fewer than half of all borrowers coming to NewLeafs consumer-direct website complete the application online. Most use the option of working with a loan officer--whether that's by phone, texting, chatting or co-browsing.
Successful home purchases typically require "a nudge" from a professional adviser, Dallas observes. He finds that giving consumers human support and access to advice is just as important as being able to pull credit reports electronically.
The benefit of merging automation and access to loan officers recently was highlighted on a commuter train, according to Attaway. A woman filling out a NewLeaf loan application on a tablet computer called an originator for assistance.
Soon the application was completed, and the loan officer sent disclosure packages to both the applicant and her spouse by email. Disclosure forms were signed electronically and sent back...