LenderClose offers ‘lending heaven’ for refinance and home equity lenders
LenderClose, founded in 2015, and headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is equipping local community financial institutions to compete with national lending brands. LenderClose is a developer of products and services for lenders with the mission of saving local lenders time and money, and ultimately lowering costs for borrowers, all with an exponentially faster turn-around. LenderClose’s…
LenderClose, founded in 2015, and headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is equipping local community financial institutions to compete with national lending brands.
LenderClose is a developer of products and services for lenders with the mission of saving local lenders time and money, and ultimately lowering costs for borrowers, all with an exponentially faster turn-around. LenderClose’s platform is built to streamline the lending cycle for credit unions and community banks with its state-of-the-art technology.
The genesis of LenderClose begins with its founder and CEO, Omar Jordan, identifying the fundamental problem of a clunky and inefficient lending work-flow. Omar and Ben Rempe, LenderClose COO, shared the story of the evolution of LenderClose with SPN.
Let’s back up just a bit to relay how the inspiration behind LenderClose unfolded. Omar Jordan was born in the country of Jordan and came to California as a kid. He dropped out of high school to work in his uncle’s factory in Orange County and eventually moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he sold vacuum cleaners, door-to-door.
Omar recounted that the lessons and grit and he learned on the street about sales while knocking on doors were foundational to starting a fintech company and building the traction needed to get LenderClose off the ground. He boils down his formula for sales success to “Knock + Listen + Fix.” Omar left vacuum cleaner sales after landing a job as a loan officer, this time helping borrowers solve financial challenges.
About the same time that Omar was making a modest start to life in California and Iowa, Rempe was playing baseball at Hutchinson, Kansas. He then finished his undergrad at UNO and later obtained an MBA at the University of Iowa. The two crossed paths while working at a large finance company owned by HSBC. During the financial crisis of 2009, HSBC shuttered the operations which propelled Omar into becoming an entrepreneur and Ben into working with community banks and credit unions. Omar launched the LenderClose portal in 2015 as a side business to his primary company, National Loan Closings.
Omar sold National Loans Closing in January 2018 to focus full-time on LenderClose, Ben joined in February. At that time, LenderClose was a small three-person company operating out of Gravitate Coworking in West Des Moines. The company now employs 22 and serves over 100 banks and credit unions nationwide.
Ben explained that he and Omar observed that while there were a handful of lenders utilizing technology to the fullest extent, most of the back-office workflow around lending was critically slow and out-of-date…think green screen and overnight document transmission to underwriters that may or may not reach their intended destinations. What’s more, those in the industry were so used to the slow and cumbersome process that they failed to recognize that it was broken
Ben and Omar set about streamlining the lending process. “Our focus is on empowering credit unions and community banks by adding much greater value. Most lenders offer the same rates, fees, products, but ultimately it comes down to experience and speed from a borrower’s perspective” said Omar.
LenderClose users can simply log into one portal and with a click of a button order all the products they need to underwrite a loan. Traditional turnaround time for processing and closing a loan can take up to 30 to 45 days. However, utilizing the LenderClose solution can get a refinance mortgage or home equity loan approved in as fast as 90 seconds. Users pay as they go and are not charged monthly fees. They are not charged for setup, and there are no term contracts.
“We are grateful to be in the Midwest, and in Des Moines, in particular,” added Omar. “These are the nicest people on planet. Everyone answers the phone and has a solid sense of community. We love engaging with startup communities and believe that you get out what you put in.”
He added that a robust startup ecosystem attracts better employees and keeps them in the Midwest.
“All the infrastructure is in place in the Midwest and here in Iowa – it’s just a matter of taking advantage of it,” said Omar. “Some of our favorite examples of the resources here include the Technology Association of Iowa, as well as a cool group right here in Iowa called PYOWA (Python Developers of Iowa) where developers can talk about and solve problems with a great community here to support them.”
In addition to the startup ecosystem surrounding and supporting LenderClose, Omar and Ben are proud to have one of the most diverse teams in Iowa and Nebraska.
“We have an outstanding team of people from all over, including Iowa, Mississippi, Michigan, and other counties, said Omar. “From college athletes to musicians, to bodybuilders – our practice is to hire people with incredible experiences, great attitudes, and a positive energy that catalyzes the best in others around them. A resume is lower on our priority than a great attitude and a life well-lived. We can teach them the ropes of the lending business if they are eager to learn.”
As for company successes, Ben remarked, “We’ve succeeded in meeting every goal we have set. We’ve filled every corner of our 4,000 square feet of office space, and we are continuing to hire. We are projecting the addition of four to six new hires in the short term for sales and production, with 12-15 for the year. We’re also excited to be working with local legislators to advocate for an e-notary bill that would drastically simplify and ease that aspect of lending compliance and regulatory challenges.
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