LoanDepot, known largely for lending directly to consumers, is upping its game with mortgage brokers with improvements to its mello broker portal that the company says will speed loan closings.

The upgrades to loanDepot Wholesale’s mello broker portal include “Closing Connection” capabilities including:

  • Closing validations let brokers know steps that must be concluded before scheduling closing
  • Final fees can be entered, updated, and approved, and a cash-to-close summary is provided
  • When validations are met, brokers can schedule closings, then update or cancel closing dates
  • Brokers can generate an informational pre-closing package to review documents and accurately calculate recording fees
  • “Prior to documents” conditions can be viewed, and outstanding documents uploaded

“In today’s market, speed can be a key factor in the homebuying process,” said loanDepot CRO Jeff Walsh, in a statement. “The enhanced functionality in our broker portal allows loanDepot’s wholesale partners to better serve their buyers, providing a quicker, more intuitive closing process.”

LoanDepot makes most of its loans through its retail channel, which includes a consumer direct channel launched in 2010, and through a network of local loan officers launched in 2013 with the acquisition of imortgage, and expanded through the 2015 acquisition of Mortgage Master.

During the pandemic, loanDepot saw a boom in mortgage refinancings through its retail channel. But its partner channel is accounting for a growing percentage of loanDepot’s business as the refi boom fades, even as demand for purchase loans remains strong.

LoanDepot mortgage originations by channel

Source: Data from loanDepot regulatory filings compiled by Inman

LoanDepot’s partner channel includes three segments: joint ventures with homebuilders, referall relationships, and loanDepot Wholesale, the company’s “third-party origination” division serving mortgage brokers and correspondent lenders.

Although loanDepot does not break out channels by segments, the partner channel as a whole accounted for $7 billion in loans during the third quarter, or about 22 percent of total originations. That’s up from 19 percent of originations during the first and second quarters of the year, when the refi boom was still going strong.

As mortgage lenders transition from highly profitable refinancings and compete for homebuyers to grow their purchase loan business, mortgage brokers have local connections that make them an important source of business. LoanDepot founder and CEO Anthony Hsieh has said the company’s $80 million end-to-end digital lending platform, mello, will allow it to scale its operations “in a highly efficient manner.”

Lenders who are hoping to compete for business by competing on price are investing in technologies that can automate much of the application and underwriting process.

Like loanDepot, the nation’s biggest mortgage lender, Rocket Mortgage, is known primarily as a direct lender, with consumers flocking to its website and app to take out loans. But Rocket is making its mortgage origination technology available to banks and credit unions as an end-to-end “mortgage-as-a-service” through Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.

Rocket Pro TPO — the division of Rocket Mortgage that works with mortgage brokers — has launched several initiatives aimed at wooing mortgage brokers, including tools to help them build and maintain relationships with real estate agents.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has a new self-service platform for mortgage brokers, BOLT, that automatically classifies and extracts information from documents to provide initial approvals for qualified borrowers in as little as 15 minutes.

Get Inman’s Extra Credit Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly roundup of all the biggest news in the world of mortgages and closings delivered every Wednesday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Matt Carter

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