Magazine article American Banker

Internet Sites Attract Growing Throngs of Home-Loan Customers

Magazine article American Banker

Internet Sites Attract Growing Throngs of Home-Loan Customers

Article excerpt

Mortgage lenders and their customers are starting to make big use of the Internet.

Consider the following notice, recently posted by Norwest Mortgage Co. on an Internet site that allows users to ask questions about the loan process:

"We have gotten so backlogged in answering questions that we are requesting that you not submit any new questions until we can catch up."

A recent search on the Internet, the worldwide computer network, found 102 sites related to home mortgage lending. Besides Norwest, lenders with an Internet presence include Fannie Mae, PHH US Mortgage Corp. of Mount Laurel, N.J., and American Savings Bank of Irvine, Calif.

The activity suggests that on-line communications is shaping up as an important marketing channel for the home mortgage industry.

Fannie Mae gets 5,600 visits a day to its home page - apparently the most among on-line mortgage operations.

Some lenders - like United Companies Financial Corp., Baton Rouge, La. - allow borrowers to fill out loan applications on-line. United Companies, mainly a home equity lender, got 80 loan applications over the Internet in June.

Norwest Mortgage, a subsidiary of Norwest Corp., Minneapolis, is the largest mortgage bank currently on the Internet. Its home page is linked to its parent's on-line presentation, meaning that users can easily jump between the two.

The mortgage company lets browsers ask - and gripe - about nearly every aspect of the origination process. It gets 50 site visits a week.

Some questions to Norwest Mortgage's home page have prompted surprisingly frank answers. …

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