Mortgage lender aims to get rid of loan officers

by MPA12 Jan 2015
In an effort to squeeze out origination costs, online mortgage lender Lenda said it wants to keep the entire mortgage lending process online.

“It costs money to pay commissions to telemarketers and junior loan officers and loan officers,” Jason van den Brand, CEO of the San Francisco-based startup, said. “We’re building software that removes a lot of that stuff so when people find us online, they actually stay online and they don’t have to talk to a loan officer," according to

Lenda's plan to eliminate loan officers could work in part because it refinances loans instead of originating them. Lenda, formerly known as startup GoRefi, operates completely online -- procliaming it is the "Turbo Tax for mortgages." The company's technology uses complex algorithms that mimic loan officers’ job responsibilities and identifies the most suitable type of loan for a borrower early in the process.

The cost of a loan officer accounts for 50-100 basis points of a loan’s amount, so by removing the loan officer Lenda, which launched in October 2013, said it reduces the cost for applicants. The lender also claimed it can close a loan in a third of the time, according to However, Van den Brand said he wants to cut the time from loan application to closing from two months to three weeks to hours, but admitted there are several regulatory challenges to overcome.

"We have lower costs just because we operate on lower margins,” Van den Brand told "We’re not paying for loan officers and so when you calculate that savings over the life of the loan, that translates into 10, if not 20, thousands of dollars.”