Diana Mulhall

FinLocker Partners With EPM To Provide The “Empower” Financial Well-being App To Homebuyers

FinLocker Personal Financial Well-being App Helps First-Time Homebuyers and Low-To-Moderate Income Consumers Financially Prepare To Buy and Own A Home

FinLocker, a leader of next-generation, digital, consumer-permissioned personal financial assistance tools, has partnered with Equity Prime Mortgage (EPM), an independently owned national mortgage lender based in Atlanta, GA, to provide the FinLocker app to its first-time homebuyers, low-to-moderate income consumers in underserved communities, especially the Hispanic community, and their existing borrowers across 49 states.

EPM has white-labeled its FinLocker app “Empower,” reflecting the company’s mission of providing their customers and partners “Freedom Through Empowerment.” This partnership aims to empower consumers with the financial tools and educational resources to improve consumers’ financial literacy and financially prepare them to qualify for a mortgage. Additional tools will sustain the new homeowners’ financial health, enable them to monitor their home’s value and equity, and achieve their next financial goals.

“As a national mortgage lender, EPM is committed to expanding the opportunities to lend in the communities we serve,” said Eddy Perez, CMB, EPM’s Founder and CEO, who also serves as the Chairman of the Corporate Board of Governors for The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. “As a first-generation Cuban American who has found my piece of the American dream, I want to provide the same opportunity to more consumers in underserved communities. EPM will be making the “Empower” app available free of charge to our borrowers, so they have the opportunity to achieve their American dream and start to build their personal wealth through homeownership.”

Consumers will use the EPM “Empower” personal financial well-being app to build credit, manage their finances, reduce debt, create budgets and goals to save for their down payment and closing costs. After closing on their home, the new homeowners will continue to use their “Empower” app powered by FinLocker to maintain their credit and positive financial habits so that they can become successful homeowners.

“The primary reason for mortgage denial among first-time homebuyers, particularly in underserved communities, is credit history and a low credit score, two barriers to homeownership that FinLocker can help aspiring homeowners overcome,” said Brian Vieaux, President, FinLocker. “The growth of Hispanic households is on a sustainable upward trajectory, and young Hispanics have a strong aspiration for homeownership. We are committed to serving all consumers, so some of the homebuying educational resources are available in Spanish, too, to give more of EPM’s consumers an equal opportunity to improve their finances and prepare them for the financial responsibilities of homeownership.”

# # #

About EPM

Founded at the height of the mortgage crisis in 2008, EPM has grown to become one of the leading mortgage lenders in the U.S., operating 18 office locations across the nation. EPM strives to offer top financial service, communication, and assistance to the communities we serve.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, EPM is licensed in 49 states and provides an array of lending resources such as Conventional, FHA, VA, 203K, Reverse and USDA loans, as well as a trusted Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & Ginnie Mae Seller/Servicer. With a dedicated staff of highly experienced professionals, EPM provides exceptional pricing for thousands of clients annually, without compromising follow-through and customer service. For more information about EPM, visit www.EPM.net.

About FinLocker

Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, FinLocker provides a comprehensive personal financial well-being app that financial institutions, mortgage originators, and credit counselors can white-label, and provide to their customers to create goals, save, budget, monitor credit, manage debts, and receive net worth and cash flow analysis, to achieve their financial goals. Within the FinLocker app, users can take a readiness assessment before applying for a mortgage, begin their property search, and securely store personal and financial documents, which can be transferred to a lender directly from the app to start their loan application. Financial service providers utilize FinLocker to generate and convert leads, gain market share, cross-sell value-added products, reduce loan processing costs, decrease risk, and create customers for life. For more information, visit www.FinLocker.com.

Having A Lion Mindset Helps Millennial Buy First Home

Ethan was typical of many young first-time homebuyers. He had a short credit history, an average credit score and thought the only way to qualify for a mortgage was to have a 20% down payment. What was different about Ethan is that he worked at FinLocker and had the opportunity to create a FinLocker account and use the app’s data and educational resources to carve his own journey to get mortgage-ready.

Like all employees, when Ethan started working at FinLocker, he created his personal FinLocker account to manage his finances. Watching the videos and reading the articles in the educational resources, Ethan soon realized he could achieve his homeownership goal quicker.

Credit score and report monitoring in FinLocker

Understanding the factors that influence a credit score was important to increase his credit score. As a young home buyer, Ethan had not built a credit history. Opening a new credit account has a low impact on how a credit score is calculated, but having almost no credit history is far more negative. A longer credit history demonstrates to a mortgage lender that a borrower can responsibly manage a smaller amount of credit, so they’ll be more inclined to finance a home purchase.

Ethan started to build a credit history by opening his first credit card account. After six months of making regular purchases and paying off the balance in full each month, he opened a second credit card account.

Over the next six months, Ethan paid his existing auto loan and both credit cards on time and kept his credit utilization rate below 30%. These two factors have the highest impact on credit score calculations. Monitoring his credit score in the FinLocker app, Ethan was able to see that his diligence was paying off and his credit score rose by 50+ points.

“When it comes to using credit cards to build credit, try not to buy anything with a credit card that you can’t afford to pay off at the end of each statement period.”

FinLocker has tools to save for down payment

Like many first-time homebuyers, saving for a down payment and closing costs is a significant barrier to home buying. While improving his credit score, Ethan knew he needed the discipline to begin saving, so he created a savings goal for a 5% down payment plus 4% of the expected purchase price for closing costs. After adding his bank accounts, the FinLocker Spending Analyzer categorized his transactions so he could understand his spending habits. He then created detailed budgets to identify areas where he could save from each paycheck.

Opening a separate savings account and automatically depositing a set amount into the account from each paycheck encouraged Ethan to pay all monthly bills on his set budget while still meeting his saving goal. Eight months later, he’d reached his savings goal but had not found a home to buy, so he created a new goal to save for the first six months of mortgage payments.

“The flexibility of the FinLocker app enabled me to create multiple financial goals. Creating the next goal as soon as I had achieved the first helped me to remain focused on always saving a portion of my income with every paycheck.”

 

FinLocker can help determine home affordability

Ethan learned that getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage is important before starting a home search, so he contacted a mortgage lender who was a FinLocker client. After getting pre-approved, Ethan entered the number into the FinLocker Affordability Calculator. However, the payments were higher than his Detailed Budget recommended. He adjusted the purchase price in the calculator until he was comfortable with the monthly payments.

 

“Don’t be tempted to buy a home up to the full amount you’ve been pre-approved. I didn’t want to be house poor and committed to a high mortgage payment each month. I also wanted to have money to travel and begin saving for retirement.”

 

Searching for a home in FinLocker

Ethan initially started his home search online but found many homes in his budget were already off the market. Once he had FinLocker, he used the Real Estate Search widget built into the app, which enabled him to save his search criteria, including preferred price, home type, and the number of bedrooms. He also elected to receive notifications when a new home hit the market. When a family member referred him to a local real estate agent, he also searched MLS listings.

“Searching for my home inside the FinLocker app gave me access to a wide variety of homes that met my saved search criteria. I was also able to avoid being bombarded with calls and emails from advertisers, which often happened when I was using other real estate search sites.”

 

Ethan achieves mortgage readiness using FinLocker

Fourteen months after opening his FinLocker account, and monitoring his progress with the Readiness Assessment, Ethan found his first home, a 2-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom condo in a northern suburb of Detroit, Michigan, for $115,000.

Ethan contacted his loan officer directly from the FinLocker app to start the mortgage process. He selected which financial documents he wanted to share for his mortgage application directly from the Share Center inside the app.

“When I got pre-approved, my loan officer gave me a list of financial documents that I would need for my mortgage application, so I had plenty of time to upload them to store in my FinLocker. It was really convenient and much more secure to simply select which documents I wanted to share with my lender to complete my mortgage application, rather than scanning and emailing a bunch of bank statements, W2s, and other documents.”

As the condo needed updating, his loan officer recommended a Fannie HomeStyle loan to finance the purchase price and up to $30,000 for renovations.

After the renovation was complete, Ethan’s home was worth approximately $160,000. With 12.5% equity in his new home, Ethan added his new home to the My Property tab to monitor his home’s value and equity. Ethan has continued using his FinLocker app to budget and save for his next financial goal.

Contact us to schedule a demo to see how the FinLocker app can help your first-time homebuyers get mortgage-ready.

Providing Borrowers With A Personalized Homebuying Experience

Borrowers come to you at all levels of financial preparedness.

First-time homebuyers often have student loan debt, an average credit score, a high DTI, and not enough savings to cover their down payment and closing costs. How do you get each borrower mortgage-ready without putting pressure on your already strained internal resources?

Applications from past clients looking to refinance or purchase a new property are not guaranteed to be easy to close, either. They can return to you with their finances in a different shape – a lower credit score, high credit card utilization – to what they were when you financed their last home purchased.

Fintech is making it easier and affordable for lenders to provide a customer-centric mortgage process that adjusts to each borrower’s timeline enabling them to personalize their homebuying experience.

Select the right solution, and you’ll have the opportunity to create customers for life by nurturing each borrower through whichever cycle of life they are in when they contact you.

What’s more, if you do it right, you’ll create evangelical brand loyalists, and referrals to their family, friends, and neighbors will follow. Most consumers buy or refinance a home every five years, so you can’t build your pipeline for the next two years on retention.

Almost half of the consumers only consider one mortgage lender before deciding where to apply. To build a profitable pipeline, you should aim to provide a home financing experience that garners recommendations from each borrower. Borrowers who you helped overcome credit or debt challenges on their way to mortgage readiness will be more inclined to promote your business.

FinLocker not only had the tools and resources to get your borrowers mortgage-ready at their own pace, but it’s also a brand loyalty driver. White-labeling your FinLocker will keep you top-of-mind with every login so that you’ll be the only lender your borrowers will want to recommend and return to for future financing.

How To Profit From Giving Borrowers A Personalized Homebuying Experience

Borrowers come to you at all levels of financial preparedness.

First-time homebuyers often have student loan debt, an average credit score, a high DTI, and not enough savings to cover their down payment and closing costs. How are you getting each borrower mortgage-ready without putting pressure on your already strained internal resources? Or do you decide to pick off the easy-to-close applications and ignore your long-term pipeline?

Applications from past clients looking to refinance or purchase a new property are not guaranteed to be easy to close, either. They can return to you with their finances in a different shape to what they were when you financed their last home purchased.

Fintech is making it easier and affordable for lenders to provide a customer-centric mortgage process that adjusts to each borrower’s timeline enabling them to personalize their homebuying experience.

Select the right solution, and you’ll have the opportunity to create customers for life by nurturing each borrower through whichever cycle of life they are in when they contact you.

What’s more, if you do it right, you’ll create evangelical brand loyalists, and referrals to their family, friends, and neighbors will follow. Most consumers buy or refinance a home every five years, so you can’t build your pipeline for the next two years on retention.

Almost half of the consumers only consider one mortgage lender before deciding where to apply. To build a profitable pipeline, you should aim to provide a home financing experience that garners recommendations from each borrower. Borrowers who you helped overcome credit or debt challenges on their way to mortgage readiness will be more inclined to promote your business.

FinLocker not only had the tools and resources to get your borrowers mortgage-ready at their own pace, but it’s also a brand loyalty driver. White-labeling your FinLocker will keep you top-of-mind with every login so that you’ll be the only lender your borrowers will want to recommend and return to for future financing.

How Consumer-Permissioned Data Provides Consumers With Extra Protection During Financial Transactions

Consumer-permissioned data puts the consumer in control of what transactional data they share with a lender, insurance company, other financial institutions, or service providers.

What is Consumer-Permissioned Data?

Consumer-permissioned data is personal transactional data that a consumer grants permission for a business to access on their behalf. Examples include online banking or bank transaction data such as checking, savings, and investments.

The consumer provides permission to the lender to securely access the data on their behalf by entering their username, password, or other authentication credentials directly into the lender’s online application or loan processing portal themselves.

Benefits of Using Consumer-Permissioned Data in the Lending Process

At first glance, the idea of giving a lender access to their personal and financial information might make a consumer cringe. The reality is that consumer-permissioned data will protect a consumer’s information during the lender process significantly more than faxing, emailing, and mailing their personal and financial documents.

Consumer-permissioned data is a win-win for consumers and lenders. Consumers don’t need to track down, copy or print hard copies of bank statements and W-2s for insistence.

Instead, the consumer gives a lender electronic access to retrieve specific financial data from their financial accounts, which they need for a lending decision. This process helps prevent repeated requests for information as emails and printed documents that can be accidentally deleted or lost due to human error during the application process. Having all personal and financial information provided electronically gives the lender the ability to make faster, more accurate decisions.

Establishing Trust Drives Business

Empowering consumers to control what data they share, when they share it, and to whom they share it establishes an additional layer of trust between the consumer and lender. When consumers are convinced an organization is protecting their personal data, 40% of consumers increase their transactions, 39% increase spending, and 49% go on to tell friends and family about their positive experience with an organization, according to Capgemini.

How FinLocker Empowers Consumers With Consumer-Permissioned Data

FinLocker uses consumer-permissioned data to provide consumers with an extra layer of protection when deciding to share their personal and financial documents with their lender for a mortgage application. The process puts consumers in the driver’s seat, providing consumers with an accurate and seamless way to securely transfer documents to their lender.

A FinLocker user can upload their personal and financial documents to their FinLocker account at any point along their journey towards mortgage readiness. When the consumer is ready to proceed with their mortgage application, they select which documents they want to share electronically with their lender. They can also decide to provide their lender with access to other financial data by signing in to their financial accounts using secure consumer-permissioned data protocols.

The trust built between consumer and lender during the entire journey to mortgage readiness using FinLocker culminates in the consumer-permissioned data transfer to provide a seamless mortgage application process.

FinLocker
Request A Demo