On Sunday, when the Denver Broncos square off to compete against the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, TV viewers will be treated to some of the most creative advertising they’ll see the whole year. And this year, home viewers of Super Bowl 50 will see a new online mortgage product for the first time.
Quicken Loans, owned and run by Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner, Dan Gilbert, is running a 60 second slot for its recently-launched RocketMortgage product. Launched in November 2015, the new mortgage service claims to be the first fully online process that enables consumers to apply, receive full approval and lock interest rates for home purchases and refinances.
RocketMortgage’s Super Bowl commercial promotes its new service as something good for America. With an easy-to-use, mobile experience, the commercial posits, more people will buy houses, stoking more demand for household products, accelerating the rebuilding our domestic economy. In the lead up to the Super Bowl, there were even rumors that the narrator’s voice sounded very similar to Sarah Koenig, host of blockbuster podcast, Serial (it’s not).
RocketMortgage’s launch and promotion comes amid growing momentum for Quicken Loans’ broader online platform, called RocketLoans. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a personal loan product that offers cash loans of $2k to $35k to borrowers with relatively good credit worthiness. The fixed-term loans carry interest rates from just over 5% to the low or mid-teens.
Super Bowl commercial aside, the parent company is pushing the convenience of its new online loan service. It claims most applications and approvals take less than 10 minutes, with funding expected in less than 24 hours. This is a big step for a company that’s spend the past 3 decades honing its asset-backed lending.
“This will be the first financial service that is not a mortgage product that we have offered in 30 years of existence,” Todd Lunsford, CEO of RocketLoans, said in an interview Monday. “Many folks that are looking to do a mortgage are looking to take cash out and pay for other debt. And in today’s mortgage market that can sometimes be difficult, depending on where they are.” The Detroit Free Press reported that RocketLoans are generally purposed for consolidation of high-interest credit card debt, home improvements, medical expenses, paying for weddings or help with a small business.
Quicken Loans is entering a competitive online lending field. Marketplace lenders, like Lending Club and Prosper, are some of the largest online pureplays. They tend to focus on unsecured consumer lending while small businesses looking for alternative sources of capital typically tap lenders like Funding Circle and OnDeck Capital. Goldman Sachs has signaled that its preparing its own online lending offering, while JPMorgan, which owns Washington Mutual, recently partnered with OnDeck to service its own small business customers with online lending capabilities.
It’s not by mistake that RocketMortgage’s Super Bowl commercial ties its success to America’s. Like Quicken Loans, the company is based in Detroit, which is undergoing its own sort of transformation. Gilbert and other successful local entrepreneurs are trying to brand the midwestern city as a hub for fintech and innovation. “We have been able to leverage some of the best minds in both the mortgage and technology industries to create two distinct fintech breakthroughs that have, and will continue to, revolutionize how people think about the process of securing mortgages and personal loans right here in downtown Detroit,” Gilbert explained.
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