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Privacy Tech | BeLoanReady mortgage app puts user privacy ahead of sales Related reading: 'Addressable' advertising could be broadcast TV's way of fighting off digital ads

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The founders of Arrive Home Mortgage have always been looking for ways to transform the mortgage industry. Throughout many conversations, they found the best way to accomplish this was to always keep the consumers' best interest in mind.

While looking into their competition, the Arrive Home Mortgage team saw some unsettling trends in ways online mortgage companies were delivering information to consumers.

"We started looking at those options and one of the big takeaways we had very early was if you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, all of these options right now really require you to give up an amazing amount of information to get any answer," said Arrive Home Mortgage Chief Operating Officer Brock Rauch. "We said we don’t think people like that. I don’t think you should give up information and become a part of somebody’s sales funnel to get interest rates or to learn how your credit score impacts your mortgage options. We just thought there’s got to be the better way to do that."

Arrive Home Mortgage took that mindset and began brainstorming ideas in 2015, which eventually lead to the creation of their BeLoanReady app, a tool allowing customers to go through the mortgage process while ensuring their privacy is respected.

The app allows customers to see if they qualify for a mortgage, choose the products and terms they are comfortable with, and create an application that has portability options if the user chooses a rival mortgage company.  

User privacy is one of the selling points Arrive Home Mortgage is using to get more individuals to use the app. 

BeLoanReady is designed for users to input as little information about themselves as possible. At the beginning of the process, customers just need to enter their email address and create a password in order to ensure the information transfers between devices. The app will also ask for a user's name to create a more personalized experience.

From there, the app never asks for any other identifying information unless the customer wishes to fill out an application with another mortgage company. BeLoanReady will then ask for their address, date of birth, and Social Security number.

While conducting research for the app, Rauch said digital mortgage companies do not place any value on consumer privacy. Rauch said other online mortgage companies buy leads online, then proceed to bombard customers with phone calls.

"We’ve bought some of the leads, and we’ve competed against some of those lenders, and it’s very much a Glengarry Glen Ross, call center mentality, where it’s just a lot of people on the phones," said Rauch. "It’s amazing when a lead gets purchased, and if your company qualifies for that lead, in this call-center space, the consumer might get four-to-five phone calls within seconds. I don’t think a lot of consumers even have a clue as to what they get into with some of these more traditional call center-focused lender."

"We really just put our flag in the ground and said we are going to do it differently."

Some mortgage companies will even capture information before users hit submit on a form, Rauch said, allowing companies to spam emails to unsuspecting users. He added that real estate agents have been interested in the app for the specific purpose of ensuring their customers are not bothered. Unfortunately, Rauch acknowledges the company is swimming upstream in fighting against the call center perception plaguing the industry.

Rauch noted the company's focus on user privacy may actually be a detriment to their overall sales cycle. Since the information is hidden on an encrypted server, the company cannot see who is using the app. While analytics can measure traffic, Arrive Home cannot tell who their customers may be.

The app is also designed to protect the information from hackers. Since no sensitive information is entered into the app until the very end, and most of the questions are of the yes-no variety, hackers will have a tough time taking any useful information from the app, according to Rauch. 

Arrive Home needs money to succeed, just like any other company, but Rauch said the company wants to make money the right way, and BeLoanReady fits in with their mentality.

"It was so much a part of what we wanted to do, because we felt it was the right thing to do for the consumer," said Rauch. "When we were conducting our testing and our research, we said that’s not going to be us. It might not be us to a fault. Maybe the squeaky wheel gets the oil and those folks that are hounding people, maybe they will ... get all the loans out there, but we really just put our flag in the ground and said we are going to do it differently."

The app is currently available for use in Illinois and Indiana, with a focus on popular mortgage products. Arrive Home plans on expanding the app to include more specialized products, with the hope of eventually distributing their privacy-focused app nationwide.  

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