Mortgage tech firm Blend launched a software solution for home equity products amid a mad dash from lenders into the space.
Instant Home Equity, an automated end-to-end digital home equity product for lenders, integrates income, identity verification, title, decision and property appraisal to save time and costs, Blend said in a release this week.
Lenders using Blend’s home equity product can offer personalized home equity loans and then close in a few days as opposed to multiple weeks it takes through legacy home equity processes, according to the firm.
“With the purchase and refi origination markets way down, having a home equity product right now is an important counter cyclical business line for lenders, especially in light of record home equity levels and demand (exacerbated by secular trends like increased work from home),” Blend’s spokesperson said.
Despite downturns in the mortgage origination market, Americans’ tappable home equity surged to a historic-high of $27.8 trillion in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Nonbank lenders that are seeking more volume are jumping into home equity lending, which has been dominated by depository banks for years.
On a home equity loan, the lender disburses a lump sum upfront to the borrower, who then pays the loan back in fixed-rate installments.
Lenders have also been expanding to home equity line of credit (HELOC) products, which allows homeowners to access their equity without refinancing their primary mortgage. A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that allows borrowers to withdraw as needed, with a variable interest rate.
Rocket, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, expanded its product portfolio to home equity loans earlier this month. While maintaining at least 10% equity in the home, homeowners can access between $45,000 and $350,000 of their home’s equity in a 10- or 20-year, fixed-rate loan.
Blend reported a $478 million loss in the second quarter, after posting a $73.5 million loss in the previous quarter. In its recent earnings call, the firm said it will prioritize product lines that deliver a return on investment in a short time period while reviewing cost structure related to contracts with vendors.