Mortgage technology and beyond: The LION roarsJohn SvirskyLenders Interactive Online Network, LION, Internet technology, loan search tool, Web site creation
I first reviewed Lenders Interactive Online Network (LION)
several years ago, long before the Internet was a factor in our
business. I liked it then and today I like it even more. The
foremost criteria for any product that I review is: "Have I made
money from it, or will it help me to do so in the future?" My
attitude is, if I can make money, you can too, and then I will
review a product.
LION provides so many valuable resources under one Web site,
which I will detail later. I highly recommend LION and use several
of its features all of the time, including a loan search. By
completing the parameters of the desired loan (fixed or variable,
jumbo, conforming, etc.), I get the rates and programs within
seconds, rather than having to thumb through a bunch of rate
sheets. The search can be defined for only those lenders who offer
a rebate, or those loans between one point back to par. It's so
easy to become lazy and habitually send loans to the same lender.
By taking the minute or so to perform a search, I've discovered
that another lender had a lower rate at that time. If I am going to
do a Desktop Originator Loan from LION, I can search and see which
lender is offering the best pricing.
One of the great benefits of the Internet is knowledge. When we
can compare rates online, it makes it much easier. After all, isn't
that what consumers do when they surf the Web? LION currently has
more than 300 online lenders, including A and sub-prime. An
interesting statistic I just read was in reference to new car
sales, but the principle also pertains to the mortgage industry. In
1990, before the Internet, the average sales price of a new car was
5 percent below the sticker price. In 1999, with the popularity of
the Internet as an informational source, the average sales price
was nearly 11 percent below sticker price. Why? Consumers know the
cost price to the dealer, and base their offer accordingly.
Knowledge is power. So too with the mortgage
industry. Mortgage Brokers cannot continue to do business
the way they did in the early 90's and remain in business, and LION
is a tool that helps make the broker more effective and efficient
in working with the consumer.
Check out LION's Web site (www.lioninc.com) and go to the
main menu. If you are a member, you would log in, but even as a
guest to the site, there is plenty of useful information. Other
features of the site include bond market updates with commentary,
broker and lender home pages, job opportunities, industry links,
and much more.
When I log on, I first read the bond information and check out
any industry news of interest. I also perform a loan search, or for
the sub-prime deals, I send my preliminary application (a short
application completed online) and wait for lenders to respond to my
query-usually within less than 48 hours. If I am working on a
specific deal, I would do a loan search to see who has the lowest
price, then click on the Desktop Originator Center. I am then
connected to Fannie Mae and may export my applications from Calyx's
Point (you can also use Contour, Genesis, or Byte), and quickly
have a decision. I know that I could go to Desktop Originator
directly, but I have found the LION site to be a very convenient
and efficient way to get there.
Another feature of www.lioninc.com is the ability to create your
own Web presence.
According to Matt Canetto of LION, "LionChoice.com permits the
broker to design a custom Web site with current interest rates and
a secure 1003 application along with interactive calculators. If
you already have a Web site then click on Mortgage 101, and you can
improve your existing site with more than 160 different documents
and interactive tools."
One advantage of LionChoice over other sites is that it's
customized and based on your choices. Also, the site is built with
a unique URL (such as www.svirsky.com). Many search engines will
not pick up sites anymore without the unique ".com" address. What's
the use of a great site if there is no traffic? Through LION's
America Mortgage Online and Mortgage 101, they generate more than
600,000 hits a month from consumers viewing rates. LION also
forwards the client's site to more than 2,200 search engines and
The big thing that sets LION apart is its Application. It's the
only application that gives the broker access to Fannie Mae's
Desktop Originator Center via the Internet, instead of MORNET.
There is no re-keying or data entry for this, or importing loan
Enough of the overview and now to specifics. Going to the
Members Home Page, the following options are offered:
*Loan search searches for "A" lenders and their
rates. You fill in the parameters of the deal and do a search that
will provide the interest rates and points for the lenders in your
region. Another excellent feature is, by keying in your margin on a
deal (one or two points, and so forth), you can set it so that you
can perform an online search in front of your clients with your
margins built in.
*Loan link finds sub-prime/niche sources and lets
you send a pre-application to all or some of the sub-prime lenders
and they can respond directly to you.
*Rate sheet on demand offers lenders online rate
sheets, a useful feature if you are out of the office. Not every
lender can be found there, but there are enough. Check and see
whether yours is there.
In addition, the News Now feature provides
up-to-date financial information; Industry
Directory provides a listing of industry professionals;
Countrywide Calculators can be most useful if you
are with a borrower; the Online Regulations
section provides links with Adfinent, AllRegs, HUD, Fannie Mae
mortgage documents, and FHA maximum mortgage limits; LION
Statistics and History is a pretty self-explanatory link;
and More Links connects you to daily newspapers,
business magazines, technology magazines, news feeds, Internet
search engines, health, law, TV, weather, etc.
I have made money using the LION Loan Search and Trade
Section ; there is one section for prime and another for
sub-prime. I really enjoyed this feature when Ive had out-of-state
deals, completed the short form provided and had lenders contact
LionChoice.com permits you to build your own Web site, enhance
your site using Mortgage 101, or increase traffic using their
America Mortgage Online, which helps generate leads and allows the
posting of interest rates for more than 30 loan programs.
Life is all about choices, and it's up to each of us to choose
wisely. Check out www.Lioninc.com to see if it can be of service to
you as it is to me.
Web Site: www.lioninc.com
Product Description: A multi-faceted Web site
that provides lenders interest rates, offers access to sub-prime
lenders who will inform you whether they are interested in your
deal before a full submission, customized Web site creation, direct
access to Fannie Mae's Desktop Originator, and more.
Price: Basic LION service $50/month (volume
discounts are available). For rates on LionChoice, Mortgage 101,
America Mortgage Online, banner ads, etc., visit LION online at www.lioninc.com for
How to Contact : By phone at (888) 251-7616 or by
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommendation: I use it all the time in my
business-the highest recommendation that I can give.
John D. Svirsky is a former Director and Technology
Chairperson of the NYAMB, a volunteer firefighter, gardener, avid
cigar enthusiast, and has been in business for himself for 18
years. John may be reached at (914) 424-3388 or