Magazine article American Banker

Seafirst Testing Cellular Toll-Free Mortgage-by-Phone

Magazine article American Banker

Seafirst Testing Cellular Toll-Free Mortgage-by-Phone

Article excerpt

Seafirst Corp. is offering a toll-free mortgage-by-telephone service that can be accessed by realtors and their customers via cellular telephone as they look at properties.

The service is available through Seattle-based Toll Free Cellular, which is offering the service in the Puget Sound region with US West and AT&T Corp.

It's the first toll-free cellular service in the country, according to officials at the company involved in the project.

Seafirst, and other companies that subscribe to the service, pay for airtime; there is no charge to Seafirst's customers.

Toll Free Cellular plans to expand the service to over 30 states by the end of next year.

Seafirst, the Seattle-based unit of BankAmerica Corp., is using the service in conjunction with its Home Loan by Phone service, introduced in early 1993.

This service lets customers find out in a few minutes via telephone the size mortgage they qualify for. If approved, the customers receive a preapproval letter by fax, which they can present to the realtor when they make an offer on a house.

In the standard Home Loan by Phone program, Seafirst then sends out application forms, which the customer verifies, signs, and mails back.

Seafirst representatives call once a week to keep the customer abreast of significant events during the process.

The only time a customer needs to go into an office is to sign the closing papers. …

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