Digital Banking

Digital Mortgage Startup Blend Expands Into Consumer Banking

Blend headquarters

Blend, the home loan tech startup, isn’t done growing.

The San Francisco-based digital mortgage and loan platform on Wednesday (Sept. 23) announced its expansion into consumer banking to include personal loans and credit cards.

Blend’s venture into new territory comes a month after it raised $75 million in Series F funding led by Canapi Ventures, the Washington, D.C- based early growth, FinTech-focused venture capital firm. The round brought the company’s value to nearly $1.7 billion. The cash will be used to grow its online mortgage, consumer loan and deposit accounts, the company said. Canapi joined existing investors Temasek, General Atlantic, 8VC, Greylock and Emergence in the round.

“Financial institutions have traditionally taken time to modernize legacy systems, but digital is now table stakes,” said Jeffrey Reitman, a partner at Canapi Ventures, in a statement at the time. “Shelter in place and social distancing mandates have forced banks and other lenders to accelerate digital transformation plans from years to months.”

Blend said an upcoming survey it commissioned from Forrester Consulting revealed 65 percent of bank customers have financial products with several different institutions. Instead of being loyal to one brand, 71 percent of respondents said they would consider opening an account with a new bank if they were presented with an offer they found relevant.

Under the new initiative, financial institutions (FIs) can use Blend’s suite of consumer banking products or build new ones on the platform to help consumers reach their financial goals, the company said.

“We want to enable banks and financial institutions to be there as trusted advisors for every financial milestone and to keep up with constantly changing consumer expectations and market dynamics,” Nima Ghamsari, Blend’s co-founder and CEO, said in statement. “With our unified platform, our partners are able to accelerate digital innovation across every line of business.”

Last month, Ghamsari told PYMNTS Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms can satisfy a range of consumers’ needs across the banking sector, whether they turn to big names like Wells Fargo or to credit unions for loans.

The advantage of digital data collection lies with having a more accurate view of the customer and provides the ability to make better lending decisions in real time, Ghamsari said. Underpinning it all is a data-driven approach that shortens pre-approval processes to minutes, leveraging the data to which the banks already have access to.

“That creates a lot of simplicity for the consumer where they’re not searching for their bank statements and their pay stubs” to complete applications,” he said.

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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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