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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2012

The Rise of Mortgage Rate Tables

These Web-based tools can help boost online lead generation

Veterans of the mortgage industry probably can remember a time when effective lead generation involved little more than picking up the phone. When there were more borrowers eager to purchase homes or cash out the growing equity of their homes, it didn’t make much sense to worry about generating leads for new business.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

At the same time, however, online lead generation for residential mortgages is rising again to unprecedented levels. Over the years, the landscape has changed to meet consumer demands, and technology has become more sophisticated in delivering rate information to consumers. More specifically, a growing number of mortgage companies are taking advantage of a new trend in online lead generation: Web-based tools that you could call mortgage rate-table advertisements.

These rate-table interactions already are familiar to consumers, allowing them to research the mortgage market in a way that’s similar to using Expedia or Orbitz to buy plane tickets. By entering minimal data points, consumers instantly can see an array of mortgage lenders, along with estimated rates and closing fees for each. This allows them to review scenarios with no direct lender interaction, giving them an anonymous way to learn about lenders, perform due diligence and even contact mortgage companies via several methods.

Mortgage rate-table advertisements can be an attractive model for mortgage companies looking to establish additional revenue streams via their websites. Of course, to provide content, lenders will want to know that such a feature will deliver some sort of value for them. This could be in the form of increased phone calls, rate tables that direct consumers to their own websites or simply access to certain borrowers’ contact information. There also are more indirect benefits that lenders receive from participating in such a table — namely, that they receive advertising and brand recognition in their respective areas.

For mortgage brokers and originators who are interested in establishing this kind of Web tool, there are a few differentiators that can make a site stand out from competitors, thereby better positioning a mortgage company to have a long-term impact in this endeavor. For instance, an essential contribution to the success of any new rate-table marketplace is simply to have an adequate number of lenders providing rate information to service all consumer loan requests. Without adequate lender coverage, the rate table will suffer and provide a poor consumer experience. Simultaneously, however, mortgage professionals must strike a balance between sufficient coverage and consumer information overload. Too many participating lenders can be just as problematic as too few.

Another aspect that can hinder the long-term success of any advertising site is a lack of communication between participating parties. In the case of mortgage-rate tables, without establishing a regular check up with participating lenders that are otherwise busy with day-to-day activities, the site may miss invaluable input. Lenders also can provide direct feedback on site performance and future innovation.

The last differentiator worth mentioning is one of the most fundamental: Mortgage companies should be sure to partner with truly experienced, quality lenders. With an elite list of lenders that each have long-standing reputations participating in a site, you are much more likely to see great consumer experiences. The more extensive the list of lenders, the more critical the vetting process becomes for success.

Mortgage companies that are interested in implementing rate-table marketplaces also can partner with a technology company for further guidance. However it’s constructed, rate tables can prove to be an important part of any online lead-generation campaign.


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