FirstClose, Inc., a fintech provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders nationwide, has closed a $35 million investment from growth equity firm Lateral Investment Management to accelerate its product and growth strategies.
FirstClose provides underwriting workflow automation technology, point-of-sale software, and data services for the U.S. home equity and mortgage markets. FirstClose will use the funds to expand its ever-growing financial services footprint to leverage property data intelligence, industry-leading partners, and groundbreaking technology to enable lenders to compete for and close consumer loans unlike any other solution in the industry.
“FirstClose is excited to announce this next step in our company’s journey,” said Tedd Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FirstClose. “Our mission has always been to improve the way that banks and credit unions serve consumers by accelerating loan closing times, increasing loan volumes and reducing costs. This year, as interest rates continue to rise and home equity lending volumes skyrocket, this funding will allow us to continue innovating faster and provide a superior customer experience, while delivering end-to-end solutions that are in high demand in today’s constantly changing lending environment.”
Soaring home prices have made home equity lending products a clear option for lenders looking to diversify their lending portfolios while creating new revenue streams. The increase in mortgage rates since the beginning of the year has caused the additional demand for home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and other home equity lending products to increase significantly. The new funding for FirstClose is the first institutional equity investment round in the company which has been self-funded since it was founded in 2000.
“Lateral is excited to partner with the FirstClose team as they accelerate growth,” said Stuart Barden, Managing Director at Lateral Investment Management, a San Mateo, California-based growth equity investment firm. “We believe that FirstClose has a critical role to play in streamlining the origination, underwriting and closing processes in the $200 billion consumer home loan market.”
Based in Austin, Texas, FirstClose provides solutions that dramatically reduce the time to close HELOCs and mortgages for more than 400 banks and credit union customers. Lenders using the FirstClose EquityIQ solution have experienced a 35% increase in online applications, a 25% increase in pull through, and a 77% reduction in time to close from application to funding. The company has strategic partnerships with MeridianLink and other industry-leading LOS companies to embed its workflow automation and data solutions into their platforms.
“We want to keep providing more value for our customers. The demand for a simple and easy way to get instant feedback on a home value, available home equity, and instant loan decision while applying for a HELOC has become a business imperative,” said Tim Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of FirstClose. “We are expanding our sales and customer success teams to serve more customers across the home loan market. By partnering with Lateral, we have found a team that has the skills and experience to support our growth – both organically and through acquisition.”
FirstClose recently expanded the leadership team to add Pat Carney as Chief Technology Officer and Kathy Mantych as Senior Vice President of Sales. Carney has more than 20 years of industry experience formulating strategies and developing innovative products for the real estate and title industries, including as Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at ClosingCorp. Mantych has been a veteran sales leader in the mortgage banking and financial services industries.
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