Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Virgin Money Enters US Mortgage Market

Some might call Sir Richard Branson crazy. Others call him crazy successful. In his latest US financial adventure, he may be both.

At a time when all the banks are leaving the mortgage market like rats from a sinking ship, Virgin Money USA is jumping in the water. Last year, the UK based Virgin Corporation acquired Lendia, a US mortgage originator and processor and is now offering wholesale mortgages to broker in the USA.

With sales slogans like “Kiss Me I’m Loan-y” and “Loan Brokers Do It Better,” it’s certainly the first mortgage wholesaler I’ve ever noticed. Further proof marketing works I guess, even Virgin’s shocking brand of marketing. Only Virgin can try to make a mortgage sexy.

That said, they shouldn’t need it at all. This is a company that on all levels is famed for customer service and for championing its customers. They’ve actually entered this market due to the lack of service-oriented wholesalers. Asheesh Adveri told the media in a company press release that “Virgin Money sees a growing service gap in the mortgage industry which we plan to close and own.”

They’re offering some innovative features including real time status updates, rate quotes, paperless underwriting, and the ability to import loan applications directly via the broker’s loan origination system—novel and efficient characteristics in this industry that is traditionally slow to innovate.

Virgin Money is already approved in 35 US states for both conventional and FHA loans and they expect to be fully licensed by the end of 2009. More than 150 mortgage brokers have joined their network. For more info see www.virginmoneyus.com.

Jessica Ward is a freelance writer based in Seattle who enjoys writing on business and finance topics as well as humanitarian topics.


Tom said...

This seems like a very natural extension of their business. I wonder if at some point they can offer a traditional loan and family/friend loan split. Or is that already offered?

Alison Kerr said...

My experience with Virgin is that they always do a good job of whatever they get involved in. We need someone who can do a good job of mortgages. Sounds good to me!