Realtor.com operator Move Inc. is looking for a new lending partner for its mortgage website, MortgageMatch.com, and until it finds one consumers will no longer be able to use the site to prequalify and apply for loans.
When the site launched in December, Move was partnered with Houston-based correspondent lender Cornerstone Mortgage Co., which was to fund loans offered on the site.
MortgageMatch.com employed an automated pricing engine that allowed consumers to see the loan products and rates offered by multiple lenders. Cornerstone Mortgage was to provide the initial funding for mortgages, which it would sell to other lenders or investors.
Today, while MortgageMatch.com still offers advice and news on mortgage lending, consumers can’t actually apply for loans.
Move spokeswoman Julie Reynolds said the company is currently looking for a new lending partner, and is in discussion with "several candidates." Reynolds said Move would not comment on the state of its relationship with Cornerstone, or on its talks with potential lending partners.
Move owns the MortgageMatch.com URL, she said, and intends to offer mortgages again when the company chooses a new lending partner.
"During the startup period we were very pleased with site traffic," which totaled more than 1 million visitors, Reynolds said, including "tens of thousands of borrowers" who prequalified for loans in less than 10 minutes on average.
One Cornerstone Mortgage executive contacted by Inman News said he was not able to comment. A message left with another Cornerstone executive was not immediately returned.
Reynolds said consumers who started the prequalification or loan application process with Cornerstone will continue to work with the lender. Cornerstone operates its own website, houseloan.com, which does not offer a pricing engine or prequalification tools.
In June, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a settlement with Cornerstone following an investigation of allegations that Cornerstone and other lenders discriminated against women taking maternity leave.
Cornerstone agreed to provide $15,000 in compensation to Dr. Elizabeth Budde, based on her claims that Cornerstone initially denied her a mortgage loan when she was on paid maternity leave and planning to return to work. Cornerstone also agreed to create a $750,000 victims’ fund to pay lump-sum payments of $7,500 apiece to as many as 100 claimants.
HUD has also charged Milwaukee, Wis.-based mortgage insurer MGIC with discriminating against a Pennsylvania family by denying their application for mortgage insurance unless and until the wife returned to work from maternity leave.
In Move’s most recent quarterly report to investors, it said a $500,000 increase in first-quarter revenue from a year ago was "primarily due to new product introductions, including ListHub reports, and fees from our operation and support of the MortgageMatch.com website."
When Move launched the site, it said it planned to integrate MortgageMatch.com tools into Realtor.com to help homebuyers focus on homes they are most likely qualified to buy. The site generated prequalification letters including loan terms and rates that could be emailed to a real estate agent or printed out before touring a home.