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LendingTree is a multi-line loan marketplace, or exchange, where consumers can go online, complete an application and receive quotes from multiple lenders. They have a comparison shop and obtain the lowest rate available among LendingTree’s stable of lenders.
Since their inception in 1996, they have expanded their product line, which was originally mortgages, to include personal loans, auto loans, business loans, student loans, reverse mortgages and more.
What makes LendingTree unique is that it is not a direct lender – it is a lead generation company. Through its advertising and marketing, it generates leads for its 400+ lenders, who pay Lending Tree to be connected to prospective borrowers.
LendingTree – About The Lender
The founder of LendingTree, Doug Lebda, took note of the challenges he faced in obtaining a mortgage to purchase his first home and designed a business to put the consumer in control of their choice of mortgage lenders. Instead of calling lender after lender, getting rate quotes and learning each lender’s different documentation requirements, all of which is time-consuming, he organized Lending Tree so that the consumer completes an application online, the information is analyzed, using LendingTree’s proprietary technology and the consumer then receives quotes from five lenders, based on his or her profile. In theory, the lenders compete for the business.
He started the business in 1996 and took it nationwide in 1998. It was acquired by IAC/Interactive in 2003 and was spun off in 2007, joining Tree.com, a consortium of financial matchmaking services. In 2013, the company was re-branded as LendingTree.com, with its multi-product loan matching services under the LendingTree brand. LendingTree is a publicly traded company, trading under the symbol TREE.
Through the years, LendingTree has added hundreds of lending institutions to its fold – major nationwide lenders, smaller regional lenders and alternative lenders, which fill the gaps for borrowers whose credit profile does not conform to the conventional norms.
LendingTree also added auto loan lenders, student loan lenders, personal loan lenders, commercial/income property lenders and business lenders, credit cards, reverse mortgages and banking products, among others. They have also partnered with or acquired credit repair services and insurance services, allowing them to be a one-stop shop for all types of credit.
LendingTree’s site has a number of resources and tools for prospective borrowers to read and use, including calculators, newsletters, and lender ratings and reviews. Nearly every borrowing need a consumer would have is offered by LendingTree, through its lender network.
LendingTree Mortgage Pros & Cons
LendingTree Loan Products and Fees
As mentioned previously, through LendingTree’s network of over 400 lenders, every type of mortgage, auto, personal, student loan, reverse mortgage and others may be found in one easy session.
LendingTree does not charge the consumer for its matching services. Those fees are paid by the direct lenders, in exchange for LendingTree providing leads resulting from the consumer’s visit to their site and completing the online form.
LendingTree’s web site is comprehensive and includes descriptions and information about each of the loan types that a consumer can apply for while there. It also includes multiple loan calculators and articles regarding personal finance, such as whether to lease vs purchase an auto and how to repair credit.
LendingTree Mortgage Process
1. Submit Your Application – complete a simple short or long online form and submit. The process is simple and intuitive. This can be done from any device. Telephone assistance is available at 1-800-813-4620.
2. Evaluate Your Options – Receive multiple offers from lenders who provide customized offers based on the information you provided and a “soft pull” of your credit scores, if you authorized it. A soft pull is a way of obtaining credit scores without impacting someone’s credit score. A “hard pull” results in a deduction from each score of 5 – 15 points for each credit pull. If they choose the “short” application, borrowers can review the offers without having their credit pulled multiple times and with no impact to their credit score provided each of those “pulls” is done by LendingTree.
LendingTree makes it easy to evaluate the best deal by providing a Mortgage Rate Competition Index, which calculates the Annual Percentage Rate of each offer and showing the spread between each offer. This makes it easy for the consumer to see which lender is offering the best rate and the lowest cost loan over its expected life.
You can use our extensive set of calculators determine which of the loans are better for you, whether to get a 15 or 30-year loan, whether to refinance, how much home you can afford, whether to make extra payments and more.
3. Choose your lender – the consumer picks the best deal for him or her and then works directly with the lender’s loan officer to complete their loan application. There is live interface with the loan officer at the lender of their choice, throughout the process.
Should You Consider LendingTree Mortgage?
LendingTree’s concept is unique but should be understood for what it is – a referral source for lenders. The consumer will not get their loan directly from LendingTree.
Due to the variety and depth of its financing and related options, one can find virtually every type of loan, as well as the lenders which fund those loans, without having to sort through hundreds of lenders.
Their proprietary Mortgage Rate Competition Index makes it easy to see which lender offers the lowest cost financing. This can save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan and may be worth extra credit pulls and incessant calls and texts.
LendingTree bills itself as an online exchange or marketplace for financing and it is, in that it makes the process of finding a lender simpler for the consumer, by aggregating the lenders suited for their request and their profile in one place.
Consumers would be advised to read all the fine print and ask about everything before providing their information. This is easily done by calling them at 1-800-813-4620.