US non-bank expands, looks to start Australian operation

The Aussie/US-founded lender is keen to grow – and even jump the pond

US non-bank expands, looks to start Australian operation

Beeline, an online mortgage banker founded by a US-Australian partnership, is expanding in the US and looking to move into Australia.

Beeline is moving into nine new US markets, hiring 100 people and releasing a new underwriting conditions engine, according to a report by National Mortgage News, a US industry publication.

Beeline allows borrowers to apply for mortgages in as little as 15 minutes by automating immediate validation of bank information used to qualify, according to a company press release.

“What’s really different about or technology is that it actually uses artificial intelligence to collect that data and verify it right away,” Jess Kennedy, Beeline co-founder, general counsel and chief compliance officer, told National Mortgage News. “A beeline is the shortest path to get somewhere, and that’s really what we wanted to provide.”

Not all financial institutions offer that kind of automated access to information – but Kennedy said the majority do, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest do as well, due to the need to process large volumes of loans remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve seen incredible adoption over the past year, particularly in the last six months,” she told National Mortgage News.

Beeline, which launched in May, is seeking to hire more loan officers as part of a plan to add 100 new staff members. Its product set currently consists of conventional loans, and it is currently in the process of obtaining approval to offer loans insured by the US Federal Housing Administration, National Mortgage News reported. The company currently sells loan servicing released after closing to the secondary market, but may consider retaining its servicing starting in 2022.

Beeline is based in Rhode Island, and currently lends there and in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., with a recently added branch in North Carolina. If intends to expand its total footprint to 16 markets by February, with plans to move into Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Tennessee, according to National Mortgage News.

Beeline is also weighing a foray into the Australian market after gaining a firmer foothold in the US.

“The first thing we want to tackle is the US mortgage market before we break into Australia,” Kennedy told National Mortgage News. “The population of Australia is a fraction of what we have here, and it’s a very different product in Australia and other countries.”