Loan Request Experience
The biggest change we’ve made to the site is a new experience we’re offering borrowers and brokers to help make the process of finding lenders much more efficient. We’re going to push them to enter and save their loan request details, then browse lender profiles and invite select lenders to view their loan.
Our goal is to give users control to connect with lenders however they prefer. They can still freely browse the site and contact lenders directly. However, we’ll try our best to convince them that the loan request experience will be the best option for them. We spent weeks building a new loan form with lots of data fields and conditional logic for many types of deals so that lenders will have a good amount of information to determine if the deal has potential.
If a user invites you to their loan request, you’ll need to sign in to view all the details. If there’s any interest in the deal, you can use our new messaging system to gather any additional information. You could also just call the lead if you want, but they get to choose the communication method. The user can also invite as many lenders as they want, but you’ll be able to see how many lenders were invited.
If the borrower or broker cannot find a suitable lender or doesn’t want to browse lender profiles, they’ll have an option to request recommendations from us. At this point, we’re going to disclose that we may receive a referral fee if a lender we recommend ends up funding their loan. If they wish to proceed, we’ll get a notification and log in to review the loan request, and after confirming it’s a doable deal, we’ll invite a few select lenders, some of which may not be listed in the searches.
The site upgrade comes with a fresh new modern design and user interface. We’ve scaled down the menu and eliminated a number of pages. We also eliminated a number of data fields from the lender profiles and simplified the layout.
Every lender profile now has just three sections – Guidelines, Company, and Contact. We moved the videos and testimonials to the bottom of the Guidelines section. The image gallery, team bios and transactions have been moved to the Company section.
Since there are so many lending guidelines data fields, we set up a new accordion layout so users can expand and collapse subsections to view the information. We created a new set of fields to display your maximum leverage per each loan type and asset class. So instead of a blanket LTV field, you can now indicate the maximum leverage for purchase bridge, purchase long-term, refinance bridge, refinance long-term, value-add, and construction.
The navigation for each lender’s profile sticks to the top as users scroll, and they will eventually click on the green CONTACT button. The Contact section has several neat upgrades. On the left side of the page, we highlight your minimum loan amount along with a short list of things you do and don’t do. Our hope is that borrowers and brokers read this before making contact.
On the right side, you’ll notice the first call-to-action is to Share a Loan Request. If the user has already created a loan request, they can simply click the INVITE LENDER button on your profile, and you’ll receive a notification. If they don’t want to use the loan request experience, they still have 3 options to contact you directly. They can call, send an email, or visit your website.
Since 2014, we’ve used a virtual phone system to create a custom phone number for each lender so we can log all the phone calls. However, we are beginning to phase that out and will begin publishing your direct number instead. Users will have to click a button to view your phone number. We’ll log that click and send you a notification that someone asked for your phone number. If the user is signed in, you’ll see their name in the notification.
Users can still send an email message from your profile, but the form now collects a few data fields, including the loan type, property type, city, state, loan amount, LTV, and desired loan term.
User Account Structure
Another large and complex piece to the site upgrade is the restructure of user accounts. We’ve separated individual user accounts from companies so that multiple people in your company can access the leads and make edits to the public profile. This feature won’t be included in the initial launch on February 2nd. It’s about eighty percent built out, and should be ready by the end of February. Until then, there will still be just one user login that manages your public profile.
When you sign in, you’ll notice a number of changes to the portal. We’ve simplified the menu so that all users see the same 5 items: My Account, Company Details, Loan Requests, and Inquiries.
My Account is where you enter your personal information. If your company is a lender, you find a simple structure with 4 tabs at the top: Company, Guidelines, Testimonials, Transactions. Please go through all the fields in the Company and Guidelines tabs to make sure everything is up-to-date (Testimonials and Transactions are optional). You’ll notice the new leverage fields close to the top of the Guidelines tab. Once the Coworker Invite system is ready, you’ll see a separate tab for that at the top of this Company Details page.
Another feature we included with the new structure is the ability to create additional company profiles. This only applies to a few unique situations:
- Lenders that offer a wholesale program build a separate profile to list in our Service Provider directory.
- Direct Lender wishes to broker a loan for a borrower acquired outside of our platform. A separate brokerage company profile would be created.
- Lenders that have 2 separate companies for very different loan types
- Commercial Real Estate vs. Small Business Loans
- Residential Investment vs. Residential Owner-Occupied
Viewing Loan Request Leads
Click Loan Requests from the left side menu to view a list of all the loans you’ve been invited to. When you click on a loan request, you’ll see all the data fields which the borrower or broker has filled out. Click the CHANGE STATUS button to reject the deal, or inform the lead that you’re interested, and then send a message.
Viewing Email Form Leads
The Inquiries page of the portal will show all the email form submissions received from your profile. If you browse our Service Provider directory and submit an email form to any of the companies listed, those will show up here as well for your records.
Subscription vs. Referral Fee
In addition to the site enhancements, there is a slight change to our fee model which will apply to some lenders, but not all. While the majority of lenders showing up in searches on the site are paying a monthly advertising fee, we have many referral fee agreements with lenders who only pay us when a loan closes, and some of those lenders are listed on the site to receive leads directly from borrowers and brokers. There are two main challenges with this model:
Difficult to Track Leads
Even lenders that have a solid system for tracking their referral sources won’t be able to catch all the leads generated from their listing on our site.
We haven’t disclosed to the lead that we are to receive a referral fee when their loan closes. There have been cases where the lender informed the borrower or broker that the origination fee for their loan request is higher because they have to pay Private Lender Link, and it leaves a bad impression on us because they were not aware of this beforehand.
Moving forward, we want to advertise to our site visitors that any private mortgage lender they find by browsing the site is paying us for advertising, and contacting those lenders directly from our site is not going to increase the pricing for their loan.
So if your lending firm is not paying a monthly subscription fee, we have to hide your listing from the search results. If you wish to continue to be listed in searches, reach out to us to get a quote. While most lenders pay between $500 and $1,500 per month, we have pricing options as low as $50 per month. We are still continuing our referral fee agreements, and there will still be opportunities for us to refer leads to lenders, if users ask us for recommendations. With our new Loan Request Experience, the process for referring leads will be much more efficient moving forward.
New Referral Fee Structure
For the majority of our existing referral agreements, the fee is 0.50% of the loan amount (50 basis points) with a $500 minimum. Moving forward, we want to reduce the percentage and have a standard structure which only varies if the lead is a broker or the borrower:
- Direct Borrower Lead: 0.375% (37.5 bps)
- Broker Lead: 0.25% (25 bps)
This won’t apply to all lenders. If your current referral fee agreement is to pay a percentage of the total origination fee charged to the borrower, there won’t be any changes.
Additional Improvements Coming Soon
This has been a huge project for us, but there is lots more work to do. Here are a few of the larger improvement projects on our list:
- Invite Coworker Process – February 2022
Multiple people from the same lending company can have access to view leads and edit the public profile. Currently, the user you invite must have an existing account. We’ll improve the process so that you don’t have to ask your coworker to first sign up so that they can be invited.
- Data Integration – March 2022
We want to give lenders the ability to export lead data to a CRM or Loan Origination Software.
- Loan Request Layout – April 2022
We’ll make a number of layout improvements to the loan request view, and we’ll attempt to integrate with a property data provider to show additional information about the subject property.
- Reporting – May 2022
We’ll build a new reporting system so you can see the performance of your public profile in real time, for all types of leads – loan request invites, phone calls, email forms, and external website clicks.
Please sign in to update your profile. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions, and we can also schedule a web meeting or phone call.
Thank you for being part of the Private Lender Link network. We appreciate your support and look forward to generating more leads for you.