Nashville, Tennessee-based Fourth Capital Bank is the first to integrate Rocket’s digital mortgage application using a new platform developed by Q2 Software.

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Customers of a small Tennessee community bank with four branches who are looking for home loans can now apply for mortgages from Rocket Mortgage through the bank’s website or mobile app.

Rocket Mortgage may have lost its crown as America’s biggest mortgage lender to United Wholesale Mortgage last year, but that doesn’t mean it’s planning to settle for second fiddle. A partnership between Rocket Mortgage and Q2 Software Inc., announced last August, gives any bank or credit union the ability to “launch, replace, or augment” their lineup of home loans by integrating Rocket Mortgage’s digital mortgage application.

Now, Nashville-based Fourth Capital Bank has become the first bank to offer home loans from Rocket Mortgage using the Q2 Innovation Studio’s Marketplace Program. The program “enables financial institutions to evaluate, select and deploy applications from a catalog of pre-integrated third-party products with no up-front investment,” Q2 announced Tuesday.

Jonathan Price

“We are excited to see the launch of Rocket Mortgage within Fourth Capital Bank’s digital banking experience,” said Q2 executive Jonathan Price in a statement. “It serves as an indicator of what’s to come for banking and financial technology providers, and we look forward to future collaborations.”

Fourth Capital Bank CEO Brian Heinrichs said that from the bank’s perspective, joining the Q2 Innovation Studio’s Marketplace Program to offer loans from Rocket Mortgage was a better solution than trying to build a mortgage lending service from scratch.

Brian Heinrichs

“We’re combining digital tools, facilitated by Q2 Innovation Studio, with a human touch to provide an exceptional experience for our clients by bringing together desired relationships and the talent, tools and sophistication that people might expect from a larger institution,” Heinrichs said in a statement. “We can’t wait to see the impact this partnership has on our organization, customers and community.”

In addition to gaining access to Rocket Mortgage’s digital application process, Fourth Capital clients also receive preferred pricing when they buy a home or refinance with Rocket Mortgage, the bank informs customers on its website.

Thanks in part to its sophisticated digital mortgage application, Rocket Mortgage came out on top of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, beating out rivals like Chase, Citi, PNC and Ally.

J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study

Overall customer satisfaction index ranking, based on 1,000-point scale | J.D. Power

“A rising tide of record demand and historically low interest rates hid a lot of the challenges lenders have been facing in forging more meaningful, lasting connections with customers and moving beyond a transactional, rate-driven relationship,” J.D. Power’s Tom Lawler said at the time. “Now, as the macroeconomic situation has reversed course, these relationship-driven attributes have become critical for lenders that want to convey a more unique value proposition and build more lifetime customers in a highly competitive marketplace.”

Sam Schey, EVP of strategic partnerships for Rocket Mortgage and a self-described “open banking geek,” said Fourth Capital Bank’s integration of Rocket Mortgage’s digital application “comes at a perfect time for homebuyers” in the Nashville area.

Sam Schey

“As we head into the prime spring home buying season, Fourth Capital account holders now have the convenient Rocket Mortgage application process at the tips of their fingers, inside the banking app they already use,” Schey said. “Our goal is to give this power to consumers across the country. Through the Q2 Innovation Studio, financial institutions can provide our renowned digital mortgage experience to their clients while keeping the banking relationship.”

While Rocket Mortgage’s easy application process helped it cash in on a refinancing boom triggered by low rates during the pandemic, last year’s dramatic rise in mortgage rates forced lenders to pivot to serve a market now dominated by purchase loans.

After slashing rates in June to grow the company’s market share and boosting third-quarter purchase loan production to record levels, wholesale mortgage lender UWM surpassed Rocket Mortgage as America’s biggest provider of home loans.

UWM CEO Mat Ishbia credited mortgage brokers who send business to UWM and other lenders for its success, calling them “the best place for consumers to get a loan.”

But Jay Farner, the CEO of Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, Rocket Cos., has set a goal of surpassing Wells Fargo to become the number one retail provider of purchase mortgages.

To achieve that goal, Rocket Mortgage has also been pursuing other partnerships, such as an exclusive deal with Santander Bank to send customers directly to Rocket if they’re looking for a mortgage.

In the fall of 2021, Rocket Mortgage announced a partnership with Salesforce to make its mortgage origination technology available as an end-to-end “mortgage-as-a-service” to any lender with licensed mortgage loan officers through Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.

Banks and credit unions that don’t want to outsource their mortgage services to a company like Rocket Mortgage do have other options. Mortgage technology provider Black Knight last year signed nine credit unions serving upward of 1.6 million members to use its Empower loan origination system. A competing mortgage technology provider Maxwell also markets to small to midsize lenders, employing machine learning to simplify mortgage document review.

Once Rocket Mortgage lands a new customer, parent company Rocket Cos. will be aiming to maximize “the lifetime value of the client” by marketing a range of products to them.

While providing home loans through Rocket Mortgage is Rocket’s biggest business, it also helps consumers line up real estate services, personal loans, used cars and rooftop solar systems through subsidiaries Rocket Homes, Rocket Loans, Rocket Auto and Rocket Solar.

Rocket Cos. acquired personal finance app Truebill in 2021 for $1.27 billion, which it rebranded as Rocket Money in August. With the ability to mine Rocket Money for customer insights and market products and services to them, Rocket can now make the case that it’s a fintech.

“The relationships we build and the insights we get through Rocket Money enable Rocket Companies to create bespoke experiences for our clients – ensuring we are offering the right products at the right time,” Farner said in July, when Rocket announced it was giving more than 2 million mortgage customers premium Rocket Money accounts.

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Email Matt Carter

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