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'Turbo Tax For Mortgage' Refinance Startup Expands Up The West Coast

Rebecca Sheppard

For startup mortgage refinance company Lenda, November will mark an incredible step forward and upward. Previously only active in California, Lenda will move into Washington and Oregon, tripling its consumer base.

With a $1.5M+ investor boost, the mortgage refinancing startup hopes to continue its expansion and streamline its already faster-than-average loan process.

What Makes Lenda Different

Lenda, formerly known as startup GoRefi, is revolutionizing the refinance mortgage market. While it is not the first lender to use an online platform in the mortgage sector, it is the first of its kind to eliminate loan officer middle men. Proclaiming that it is the “Turbo Tax for mortgage,” Lenda operates completely online.

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Through some complex algorithms that mimic loan officers’ job responsibilities, Lenda’s software is intended to make loan officers unnecessary, expensive hindrances. CEO Jason van den Brand states that Lenda’s software “saves time and money, eliminates confusion and provides for a happier mortgage experience.”

Is That Possible?

Lenda's elimination of loan officers could work well in part because Lenda refinances loans instead of originating them. Lenda takes basic information from those looking for mortgage quotes — email address, zip code, credit score, property value, current mortgage — and provides an estimated quote.

At this point, the customer can decide to continue using Lenda and expect a closing in almost a third of the amount of time averaged for traditional mortgage lending, in addition to savings of 10 or 20 thousand dollars.

While the amount of savings over the course of the mortgage loan may sound too good to be true, Lenda reassures, “We have lower costs just because we operate on lower margins.”

“We’re not paying for loan officers and so when you calculate that savings over the life of the loan, that translates into 10 if not 20 thousands of dollars.”

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Looking Ahead

Although the expansion to Oregon and Washington will have Lenda in three states, the company already has licensing to operate in 43 states.

Co-founder and CEO van den Brand explains the potential driver for future growth, “We’re up against these large incumbents that refuse to change how they do business, and there’s a huge opportunity to streamline the refinance process and cut costs for the homeowner.”

What’s next for Lenda? “[A] faster, more transparent, more efficient process,” Lenda representatives say, and a short-term goal of reducing closing time from the current 21 days to 7 days.

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