Lender Targets You Online

December 1, 1996

PASADENA, Calif.--Mortgage lenders are lining up to take their place online--but perhaps no lender has geared its Web site more directly to real estate practitioners than Countrywide Home Loans Inc.

“REALTORS® contribute a tremendous amount of business to our bottom line,” says Douglas Aguiar, first vice president and director, business partner marketing. “They're an extremely valuable component of our success and our growth.”

In addition to offering information that any salesperson or buyer can use to select a loan product and calculate different loan payment scenarios, Countrywide is building an Intranet site--one that isn't open to the public but is accessible to salespeople who do business with the company. Countrywide demonstrated the first phase of the private Intranet site at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Convention & Trade Exposition in November.

Actually, Countrywide won't track whether you're sending business its way before allowing you into the Intranet site. “It's like a guest book whereby practitioners enter our Internet site and then register their E-mail address. Once they register, they'll receive a password--and that's kind of what defines business partner as far as the site is concerned,” Aguiar says.

So far, the public site (http://www.countrywide.com) has far more information, including a mortgage loan calculator that remembers buyers’ info each time the buyers enter the site; Inman News Features, a daily on-line real estate news service; and a newsletter called Trends. But at the Intranet site, business partners have easier access to Countrywide and may eventually be able to hook into some internal company information--for example, to check on the status of a buyer's loan.

Down the road, Countrywide plans to offer educational seminars for real estate practitioners on how to become more successful at using the Internet. “Our challenge,” Aguiar says, “is to help real estate salespeople in their efforts to become more technologically savvy--not in self-serving ways, meaning how you use our prequalification calculator, but more of the big picture. What does this new technology mean to you, and how can you communicate better through it?”

Countrywide, with more than 300 branches nationwide, estimates it does business with 80,000-90,000 real estate practitioners.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is executive editor of publications for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor-in-chief of REALTOR® Magazine.

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