Industry NewsMortgage

Borrowers get a crack at lending black box

Part 1: New Web tools let consumers play mortgage broker

Editor's note: Part 1 of a three-part series on new online mortgage tools kicks off with a look at LendingArt.com. Read Part 2, "Widget for mortgage loan quotes debuts," and Part 3, "Mortgage Grader wants to slash loan fees." If lenders once had the upper hand over borrowers shopping for a mortgage over the Internet -- thanks in part because of Web sites that sell an applicant's personal information as leads -- the balance of power may be shifting to consumers. A new generation of Web-based mortgage shopping tools aims to put consumers in the driver's seat by letting them query the databases of hundreds of lenders, comparing loan guidelines, rates and fees for a specific transaction without giving up their personal information. The sites include LendingArt.com, which provides anyone access to wholesale loan prices, RateWindow, a Web "widget" that real estate agents can install on their own sites, and Mortgage Grader, which has patented a proce...