Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)
If you’ve ever gone through the process of getting a loan of significant value, you know the tedious amount of paperwork that you have to collect and hand over to your lender. You probably also know about the inevitable phone call that comes a couple of days (or weeks) later, letting you know that you forgot to include that one really obscure piece of information, and now you need to include a new copy of your two most recent pay stubs because the previous ones are no longer the most recent.
Yes, I know the struggle, and boy, I wish I’d met Peter Esparrago a few months earlier, because he and his team at FinLocker are making the loan process a whole lot sexier for both the borrower and the lender.
In 2014, each of the three masterminds behind FinLocker had already been very successful in the mortgage and software industries when they joined force: Together, Tim Stern and Barry Sandweiss grew and sold Lenders One, the largest mortgage banking cooperative in the U.S., and CEO and co-founder Esparrago grew and sold several software companies, is on the Board of Directors for Scottrade, and is co-founder and general partner of Cultivation Capital.
Seeing inefficiencies in the loan process, Stern, Sandweiss and Esparrago knew there was a way to apply sophisticated algorithms from the data that borrowers provide to automate the mostly manual processes used by underwriters today in order to process and approve loans. From this knowledge, they built a financial data and analytics platform to improve the borrower experience and save both lenders and borrowers time.
Once borrowers have a FinLocker account, they can log on to the secure platform, control what is in it and who can see it, effectively storing their information in the “locker” until they need it again for other loans such as car loans, student loans or small business loans. This automation not only is a huge time-saver, but FinLocker’s model is also looking at significantly reducing the cost to process a loan, which is currently around $7,800.
The Time is Now
With the ever-growing demand for “push/click” mortgage loans popularized by Quicken Loans Rocket Mortgage, many mortgage companies realized “this is the window to come out of the dark ages” says Esparrago. “Rocket Mortgage awakened the mortgage industry and made mortgage lenders realize they really have to do something now.” This awakening led to the first ever Digital Mortgage Conference held in San Francisco earlier this month where several companies came together to work on creating the digital mortgage of the future.
FinLocker, which had been operating in “stealth mode” since 2014, officially came out to the public with a presentation at the conference. “The window is now,” says Esparrago, who mentions that now FinLocker is in the public eye, it is focused on scaling and growing the company while continuing to make sure the product is exactly what is needed for the digital mortgage space.
Earlier this year, Cultivation Capital, a leading St. Louis-based venture capital firm, announced a significant investment in FinLocker. Cultivation Capital’s General Partner, Rick Holton Jr. says, “We are excited about FinLocker’s progress and the feedback from the marketplace. The FinLocker technology offers an innovative re-usable ‘financial locker’ and analytics platform in a space that we think is ripe for disruption.”
As a St. Louis-based company, FinLocker and all three co-founders are committed to growing the St. Louis ecosystem with successful companies in the FinTech industry. Because according to the founders, not only is it the time for the digital mortgage industry to emerge, but it is also the time for St. Louis to be recognized as a leader in FinTech.