Magazine article Mortgage Banking

A Hot Web Site

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

A Hot Web Site

Article excerpt

One lender is enjoying success from a Web site that is simple yet appealing to consumers.

In just more than a year, Eastern Mortgage Services (EMS) has established a profitable home page on the Internet's World Wide Web. Generating 100 to 150 qualified mortgage applications a week, the marketing initiative is paying off for this national mortgage company based in Trevose, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia.

Currently licensed in 32 states, EMS is an 11-year-old mortgage banker ranked as one of the top 75 in the nation, according to American Banker's annual ranking. With its sub-prime division - specializing in subprime lending - and its first mortgage division, EMS offers its customers and prospects a full range of mortgage products.

According to Gone Devine, senior vice president of marketing for EMS' subprime division, "Web-generated leads tend to be quality leads. Since establishing our home page in January 1996, we have funded in excess of $10 million in first and second mortgage loans to date." He adds, "At its current rate, I expect the Web site to generate close to $18 to $20 million in funded loan volume by the end of the 1997 business year."

With that kind of boost from Web-generated business, it's no surprise that in just a year and a half, and with more than $200 million in funded volume, EMS' subprime division is the Dauphin Deposit Bank and Trust Company's fastest growing subsidiary to date. The proposed acquisition of Dauphin Deposit Corporation (DDC) by Allied Irish Bank, p.l.c. (AIB) is sure to have a positive impact on EMS.

With assets of $41 billion, AIB, a Dublin-based financial services company, is the parent of First Maryland Bancorp in Baltimore, explains James Hayden, president of EMS' subprime division. "When DDC is acquired and merged into First Maryland around the end of the third quarter, our resulting new organization will itself post assets of nearly $17 billion," he says. Hayden greeted the proposed announcement warmly, saying it will likely result in additional capital for the subprime division.

A medium that's not just for anyone

Although growing fast in popularity, marketing on the Web hasn't been easy for everyone. However, the mortgage industry is one category that has limitless potential on the Web, as EMS has quickly discovered. "Actually, it is the dry nature of the mortgage business that lends itself so well to the Internet," says Warren Myer, CEO of San Jose-based Myers Internet Services - an Internet service provider specializing in mortgage Web sites.

"Eastern Mortgage Services has one of the best Web sites on the Internet," says Myer. "What makes it so impressive is that it includes a comprehensive listing of their products and access to more information about them, it caters to a broad credit spectrum (A through D credit profiles), and it offers an online application that EMS usually responds to within 24 hours."

EMS is one of many mortgage companies that has launched a site on the Internet. Unlike companies with Web sites that are still learning how to use the medium effectively, however, EMS began experiencing profits within its first weeks of being online. The site generated more than $1.5 million in production in November 1996 alone.

Located at http://www.eastmortg.com, EMS has been recognized as an innovator in its field as a result of the production volume the site has generated. The reasons for the success are many.

First, EMS did its homework. "We spent up to eight weeks just preparing for this site. We researched other sites, achieved an understanding of how to use the medium, got a firm grasp on who our target market was, analyzed various options to define its [the site's] mission," explains Hayden. "We spent a lot of time putting up our home page because we wanted to create a distribution channel for the future, not a dead resource for the moment."

Simple yet successful

The success of EMS' financial Web site doesn't have to do with flashy photos or glitzy graphics. …

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