ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Building on a longstanding, successful relationship, Pentagon FCU recently announced its migration from Mortgagebot to Mortgage Marvel.

With more than one-million members, 30 branches, 1,400 employees and $15 billion in assets, PenFed was focused on enhancing its mortgage platform. And for good reason, as it is estimated that more than 75% of Americans seek mortgage rates online, with roughly 50% favoring online applications. Moreover, a June 2012 Harris Interactive poll found that 25% of Americans cited accurate disclosure of all fees accompanying a mortgage offer as the leading attribute they are seeking when using a mortgage-shopping website.

"We had been using Mortgagebot for loan originations for several years when they introduced Mortgage Marvel," said Rod Raszler, PenFed's vice president. "Since we had such a good experience with Mortgagebot it was an easy decision for us to migrate."

Mortgage Marvel CEO Rick Allen explained that Mortgage Marvel is a direct-to-consumer website that is operated by Mortgagebot. The solution connects directly into the database that powers an individual lender's website.

"As an analogy, Open Table software for restaurant reservations is the same concept, as it hosts the reservation system for individual restaurants, but also has a website where you can get reservations from multiple restaurants," explained Allen.

Whereas many software applications are customized for a respective credit union, in this case Raszler said the solution requires a hands-off approach. "This has truly been a set-it and forget-it partnership as they did all the heavy lifting for us. Since rollout, we haven't had any problems."


The Power Behind Lending Sites

For the most part, potential online loan clients (or members) trust the information that is provided after an online registration session. But how does real-time rate technology work? Allen explained that 1,100 credit unions and banks are currently using the company's solution, a mortgage origination site for consumers. "This is software as a service operating in the cloud, so all these financial institutions have landing pages on their websites that are hosted by us."

Like websites that are designed for consumer use without training, Allen said his solution is similar. "The lender credit union doesn't need any training on the website because for the consumer it is self explanatory." He added that credit union administrators require a little bit of training to obtain reporting figures and post mortgage rates. "The Mortgage Marvel branch sign-up and implementation process requires roughly 30 minutes, if that."

The software was designed so that online applicants are brought through an interview-style process with the completed application seamlessly transferred to the lenders' loan origination system. Allen said the sties are fully functional with real-time rates and fee quotes.

"We do not have a formal process to review return on investment (ROI) for this initiative, but we have found the applications to be of high quality and to convert to closed loans at an acceptable rate," said Raszler. "It has strengthened our model. We are reaching more potential members and borrowers than would otherwise be available."

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