Beeline, an online mortgage banker started by a team split between the United States and Australia, is moving into nine new U.S. markets, hiring 100 people and deploying new technology that automates the handling of the follow-up questions that inevitably come up during a mortgage application review.
Beeline’s platform aims to help borrowers apply for home loans online or in a mobile app in as little as 15 minutes by automating immediate validation of bank information used in qualification, it said in a press release.
“What’s really different about our technology is that it actually uses artificial intelligence to collect that data and verify it right away,” said Jess Kennedy, Beeline’s co-founder, general counsel and chief compliance officer. “A beeline is the shortest path to get somewhere and that’s really what we wanted to provide.”
Beeline uses the data aggregator Plaid to gather bank account data and tax documents. The nonbank can help loan applicants access needed tax information through their own tax preparation software, such as TurboTax, Kennedy said.
The startup, which launched in May, is looking to hire more customer service staff it calls “loan guides” as part of its plan to expand headcount by 100. These representatives have minimal interactions with borrowers outside of situations where their guidance is needed by the consumer or required by law. Their compensation packages have been vetted for compliance and do not rely on a commission structure, but do have a variable component, said Kennedy.
Beeline declined to share the number of mortgages it has closed.
Beeline is also adding a component to its mortgage technology that it calls a “conditions resolution engine.” According to the company, this reduces the amount of work and documents users need to complete after they have received their pre-approval. Instead of going back to the borrower to answer questions that might arise about an application, it searches the available data pulled first to see if they can be answered that way. For example, it might analyze direct deposits made into the applicant’s bank account to verify employment.
Beeline currently offers conventional loans. It is in the process of obtaining approval to offer Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages, Kennedy said.
The company is based in Providence, R.I. It currently lends in its home state, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and recently added an outpost in North Carolina. Beeline plans to extend its total footprint to 16 markets by February, with plans to move into Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and Tennessee, among other locations.
Beeline also is considering expanding into the Australian market after establishing itself in the United States.
“The first thing we want to tackle is the U.S. mortgage market before we break into Australia,” Kennedy said. “The population in Australia is a fraction of what we have here, and it’s a very different product in Australia and other countries.”