Most people know loanDepot as one of the largest non-bank lenders. It was almost a year ago now that we covered the fact that they had crossed the $100 billion mark in mortgage originations. The company first started originating loans in 2010 and subsequently expanded into personal loans.
Today the company announced two new ventures as part of their mello brand. The first, called mello Home, connects pre-approved homebuyers with real estate agents. More interesting though, is the new product that will help consumers find and hire home improvement specialists.
As a way of background, loanDepot first launched mello in March, 2017 and this is an expansion of the brand. mello, according to the press release enables three foundational strategies.
- Consumers can run any mortgage or non-mortgage loan from application through funding from any device on their own or alongside local loan consultants who can advise and co-pilot throughout the process
- Loan consultants licensed in all 50 states can seamlessly respond and advise in real time to the millions of consumers the company sources digitally, and
- Analytics on customers’ evolving needs throughout their home buying and owning lifecycle.
The home improvement piece of mello Home is what we think makes this move very interesting. With this new product, they are going to compete head to head with GreenSky, the most valuable fintech company. GreenSky empowers merchants and contractors to provide financing at the point of sale. Need to finance an emergency fix to a furnace or want to renovate your bathroom? GreenSky puts technology in front of contractors who can provide you with all of the details while you are making the purchase decision.
It looks as though the mello home improvement venture will function in a similar fashion. It’s very much a boots on the ground approach to offering loans, and although GreenSky seems to have nailed this model, there is certainly room for competition. loanDepot’s mello home improvement business will launch later this year and will provide loans up to $75,000.
In fintech we often hear about the cross sell opportunity that many companies talk about. Acquire customers for one product but be with them their entire financial lives to offer other products and services. This engagement piece is something traditional banks have struggled with and fintech companies have realized the potential. There are arguably just a few companies who have been able to demonstrate this thesis at significant scale. SoFi and some of the personal finance management apps come to mind.
loanDepot expanded to personal loans and now are targeting a new segment which has unique characteristics when it comes to customer acquisition. Their large customer base in mortgages will serve them well as they move into this new segment. They are a company that has a track record of executing so it is going to be interesting how this plays out.