PNC Bank Turns to Blend to Digitally Optimize its Mortgage Application Process

PNC Bank Turns to Blend to Digitally Optimize its Mortgage Application Process
  • Blend and PNC Bank announced a strategic partnership to help the bank digitally optimize its online mortgage process.
  • The partnership between Blend and PNC Bank comes in the wake of Blend’s Instant Home Equity product, launched in August.
  • Blend made its Finovate debut in 2016 and is also an alum of Finovate’s developer conference, FinDEVr.

A strategic partnership between PNC Bank and cloud banking software company Blend will help the financial institution digitally optimize its online mortgage application process. With its new mortgage application platform, PNC will enable its customers to digitally apply for a mortgage and import information such as bank and payroll data directly into the application simply by providing their credentials. Customers further will benefit from a single portal for tracking the status of their mortgage application, completing any additional tasks, as well as reviewing and electronically signing loan documentation. The portal also allows PNC’s mortgage loan officers to collaborate in real time with customers.

PNC EVP and Head of Mortgage Peter McCarthy called the partnership “an ideal combination of digital self-service technology and support for our customers as they navigate one of the biggest and most important purchases in their lifetimes.”

The strategic partnership announcement comes just over a month after Blend announced the launch of its automated instant home equity product. Integrating a range of recent enhancements to its mortgage suite, the solution provides income and identity verification, title, decisioning, property appraisal, and notarization. Lenders can use Blend Instant Home Equity to provide borrowers with a personalized offer that can be approved instantly and closed within a few days.

“Leveraging all that we’ve built on the Blend platform – for both Mortgage and Consumer Banking solutions – we’re able to deliver an instant home equity experience to help our customers ensure a seamless experience for applicants, grow their home equity businesses, and reduce costs to originate in a challenging marketplace,” Head of Blend Nima Ghamsari said.

Blend demonstrated its Data-Driven Mortgage solution at FinovateSpring 2016 and returned later that year to present its technology at our developers conference FinDEVr Silicon Valley. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Blend enables financial services companies to process an average of more than $5 billion in transactions a day. The company leverages low-code, drag-and-drop design tools to enable developers to build new products quickly. Its platform is integrated with trusted services ranging from eSign to identity verification to help financial institutions deliver seamless customer experiences.

PNC Bank is a part of the PNC Financial Services Group, one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the U.S. Offering retail banking to more than 12 million consumers and small businesses across the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest, PNC Bank also provides asset management services to affluent and ultra-affluent individuals and families, as well as corporate and institutional banking. As of June of this year, PNC Bank had $320 billion in assets under administration.

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Ocrolus and Blend Partner to Automate the Mortgage Process

Ocrolus and Blend Partner to Automate the Mortgage Process

Digital banking platform Blend and financial document automation platform Ocrolus are partnering this week to embed Ocrolus’ Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) document analysis solution into Blend’s digital mortgage application platform.

Blend expects that Ocrolus’ HITL technology will help accelerate digital mortgage applications for potential home loan borrowers. That’s because the document analysis solution will automate the classification of documents and capture data needed for mortgage applications.

“Blend is simplifying and streamlining the lending experience for consumers and bankers alike,” said Blend’s Manager of Business Development Jeff Braddock. “We’re enhancing the Blend platform with Ocrolus’ automated, accurate document classification and data extraction capabilities. Our partnership with Ocrolus enables us to swiftly deliver time-saving innovations to our customers.”

The partnership aligns well with Blend’s goal to automate all aspects of the loan origination process. The California-based company offers a cloud-based platform that powers end-to-end customer journeys for a range of banking-as-a-service lending products and deposit accounts.

Founded in 2012, Blend’s B2B tools also include a loan officer toolkit, a loan officer mobile app, and an income verification tool. The company enables its customers, including Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and more than 310 other financial services firms, to process an average of more than $5 billion in loans per day.

Ocrolus, which recently won Best of Show for its demo at FinovateFall 2021, provides automated document analysis to automate credit decisions across fintech, mortgage, and banking. The company is headquartered in New York and has raised $127 million since it was founded in 2014.

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Behalf Raises $100 Million Debt Facility for B2B BNPL Offering

Behalf Raises $100 Million Debt Facility for B2B BNPL Offering

Now more small businesses can get in on the Buy Now Pay Later game just like retail consumers.

Courtesy of a new $100 million debt facility, small business financing company Behalf will be able to make its In-Purchase Financing offering available to a broader range of B2B merchants and their small business customers. In-Purchase Financing gives B2B merchants the same sort of Buy Now Pay Later benefits that retail consumers enjoy, and includes a range of features designed especially to meet the needs of B2B commerce. The facility was provided by funds managed by Ares Management Corporation.

Behalf also announced $19 million in new venture financing led by MissionOG, Viola Growth, Viola Credit, and Vintage Investment Partners. Migdal Insurance and La Maison Partners also participated in the round. Behalf’s total funding now stands at more than $250 million.

Describing the B2B e-commerce market as more than ready for transformation, Behalf CEO Rob Rosenblatt said that in-purchase financing gives merchants the opportunity to source new revenues. The offering also gives small and medium-sized businesses access to an affordable financing alternative.

“Even as the U.S. economy is improving, SMBs continue to seek financial assistance to purchase critical supplies, inventory and equipment,” Rosenblatt explained. “Oftentimes they lack the requisite spend capacity on their personal or business credit cards. By offering In-Purchase Financing with flexible terms, B2B merchants can increase average order size by as much as 50-80 percent while reducing their risk, improving cash flow and driving operational efficiencies,” he said.

Among the features included in Behalf’s In-Purchase Financing solution are:

  • Seamless checkout to improve CX and customer loyalty
  • Easy integration with existing point-of-sale systems
  • Advanced underwriting and scoring models to handle the complexity and risk of SME lending

The solution scales to enable merchants to serve a range of business customers, from small to large, and supports financing for transactions of “significantly greater” average order value relative to consumer financing options.

“We think there is a great market opportunity for a B2B offering targeting the more complex, real-time financing needs of SMBs,” Ares Credit Group Partner Jeffrey Kramer said. “We are excited to provide a debt facility that will help support the company to achieve its growth objectives.”

Founded in 2011, Behalf made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall three years later. Since then, the company has enabled its B2B merchant partners to achieve an 83% increase in Average Order Value (AOV), an 80% gain in purchase frequency, and 44% growth in sales revenue.

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Blend Raises $360 Million in IPO; Achieves $4 Billion Valuation

Blend Raises $360 Million in IPO; Achieves $4 Billion Valuation

Mortgagetech innovator Blend is the latest fintech to go public. The company, which unveiled its “data-driven mortgage” solution in its Finovate debut five years ago, made its debut as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange last week under the ticker BLND. Blend raised $360 million in the IPO, earning a valuation of $4 billion.

In a blog post, Blend CEO and co-founder Nima Ghamsari reflected on the irony of launching a mortgagetech business “out of the ashes of the great recession” in 2012. The goal then was to build a solution that leveraged technology and data to made financial services simpler and more transparent, specifically in the “complex and paper-based” mortgage process. Since then, the company has expanded its product portfolio beyond mortgages to include initially home equity loans and lines of credit, before helping streamline origination workflows for financing products ranging from personal loans and credit cards to deposit accounts. This expansion has allowed Blend to enable its financial institution clients to cross-sell personalized offers and services to their customers and members.

“At every step of our journey, our customers have asked us to build more,” Ghamsari wrote. “That’s why this moment means so much to me and everyone at Blend.

A winner of the NAFCU Services 2021 Innovation Award for Best Digital Lending Platform in June, Blend facilitated more than $1 trillion in loans in 2020, an increase of 2x over the previous year. The company also introduced a variety of new platform features in 2020 including a new loss mitigation workflow for homeowners, and a digital portal to process PPP loans. Blend currently has more than 290 lender partners, representing 30% of all mortgage volume in the U.S.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Blend began the year with a $300 million Series G round, featuring participation from Coatue and Tiger Global Management. The funding gave the company a valuation of $3.3 billion. This January investment was less than six months after the company secured a $75 million Series F financing led by Canapi Ventures.

In addition to its debut at FinovateSpring in 2016, Blend is also an alum of our developer’s conference, FinDEVr. At the event, the company’s technical team showed the thinking behind the design of its platform including the importance of automated workflows, data connectivity, and innovation by design.

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Blend to Acquire Title365 from Mr. Cooper

Blend to Acquire Title365 from Mr. Cooper

Digital lending platform Blend has agreed to acquire Mr. Cooper-owned Title365 for $422 million.

Blend will leverage Title365 for its title, escrow, and settlement services. Integrating this technology into Blend’s platform will allow the company to automate title commitment upon loan application submission, digitally reconcile settlement fees in real time, and streamline communication among parties. Ultimately, Blend anticipates that Title365’s industry expertise will help minimize costs by integrating title and settlement into the loan process.

Title365 was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in California. The company fits nicely with Blend’s approach of offering a modern experience with its mission “to be the most technologically advanced title insurance and settlement services provider.”

Title365 will be part of Blend’s title marketplace that allows lenders and consumers to choose their preferred title and escrow partner. The tool will be similar to Blend’s insurance marketplace that allows consumers to shop for competitive rates from more than 25 insurance carriers.

“We’re really excited about the agreement to add Title365 to our team as we continue our work to build the full consumer homebuying journey into our platform,” said CEO Nima Ghamsari. “With Title365, we will be able to expand our ability to put lenders at the center of a vastly improved homebuying journey that delivers new levels of efficiency, speed, convenience, and cost savings to everyone.”

Founded in 2012, Blend recently received $300 million in new funding, bringing its total funding to $665 million and boosting its valuation to $3.3 billion. The company facilitated $1.4 trillion in loans last year and counts 285+ lender partners, which together are responsible for around 30% of all mortgage volume in the U.S.

Blend Raises $300 Million for Mortgage and Consumer Banking Services

Blend Raises $300 Million for Mortgage and Consumer Banking Services

Shortly after expanding its offerings to include consumer banking tools, fintech innovator Blend announced it has landed $300 million in new funding.

The series G financing round was led by Coatue and Tiger Global, and brings Blend’s total funding to $665 million. With the investment, Blend is also seeing its valuation nearly double to $3.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion just five months earlier.

In a blog post, company CEO Nima Ghamsari said that Blend will use the funds to fuel “aggressive plans” for this year. “We want to build the banking software infrastructure for the future,” said the CEO, “with an end-to-end digital experience for any consumer banking product and a complete homebuying and financing journey from start to close.”

Blend offers banks no-code, drag-and-drop workflows to help them customize the end user experience and launch new products quickly in response to consumer demand.

The company launched in 2012 with a focus on helping banks revamp the mortgage application process for consumers. Last September, Blend introduced a consumer banking suite, a set of tools to help banks focus on more than just the lending process. The suite includes modules to help banks launch their own deposit accounts, credit cards, personal loans, vehicle loans, and home equity line of credit offerings.

Last year, Blend facilitated $1.4 trillion in loans, more than double what it did in 2019. The company counts 285+ lender partners, which together are responsible for around 30% of all mortgage volume in the U.S. Partners include BMO Harris Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Wells Fargo, which sees more than 75% of its mortgage applications submitted via its Blend-powered application tool.

In addition to growing its loan volume and client portfolio, Blend also grew its team. The company added more than 200 employees last year remotely via Zoom, a move that increased its team by more than 60%.

“Today’s news is just another step in Blend’s journey; we’re in it for the long haul, and we look forward to continuing to build the best lending and banking experiences for all,” said Ghamsari.

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Finovate Alums Take Top Honors at Lendit Fintech Awards

Finovate Alums Take Top Honors at Lendit Fintech Awards

Lendit Fintech announced the winners of its fourth annual Lendit Finitech Industry Awards this week. And out of the 500+ entries competing for awards in 13 different categories, Finovate alums left the stage with nearly half of them.

Taking the highest honor as Fintech Innovator of the Year was Stash. The New York-based mobile-first investment platform made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2017, demonstrating its Stash Retire solution. This year marks the second year in a row that Stash has picked up Lendit’s top prize in this category. Fellow Finovate alum Marqeta was among the category’s finalists.

Also winning award categories were:

  • Plaid for Innovations in Digital Banking
  • Urjanet and Equifax for Most Promising Partnership
  • Visa for Top Service Provider
  • Blend for Top Technology Service Provider.
  • CircleUp for Top Small Business Lending Platform

“Our purpose at Lendit Fintech is to elevate and celebrate the achievements of others,” co-founder and CEO of Lendit Fintech Bo Brustkern explained in a statement. “This year has been a hard year for many bank and fintechs, and the many enterprises that support them. Now more than ever we need a reason to come together – even if it’s virtually – to recognize and applaud excellence in these circumstances.”

Other companies earning awards were Upstart for Top Consumer Lending Platform, PeerStreet for Top Real Estate Platform, BlockFi for Emerging Lending Platform of the Year, Orrick for Top Law Firm, and Branch for Excellence in Financial Inclusion. Two individuals were also recognized: Colin Walsh, founder and CEO of Varo Money, as Executive of the Year and Nicky Goulimis, COO and co-founder of Nova Credit, as Fintech Woman of the Year.

A number of other Finovate alums earned finalist spots in this year’s competition. Both Lending Club and SoFi competed as finalists in the Consumer Lending Platform category. And BlueVine provided a strong Finovate alum showing in the Small Business Lending Platform group.

Credit is also due to Finovate alum Mambu as a finalist (along with Stash) in the Innovations in Digital Banking category, and to both Finicity and Ocrolus, which competed in the finals of the Top Technology Service Provider category.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

Blend Expands with More Consumer Banking Tools

Blend Expands with More Consumer Banking Tools

Digital lending platform Blend announced this week it is moving beyond the realm of mortgagetech, broadening its focus to a wider array of consumer banking tools.

The San Francisco-based company now offers a new set of configuration capabilities that help banks dynamically respond to changing consumer needs by going to market faster with new products. New capabilities include out-of-the-box offerings for credit cards, personal loans, auto and specialty vehicle loans, home equity, and deposit accounts. Three of those products– personal loans, credit cards, and specialty vehicles– are new for Blend.

This news comes shortly after the company closed a $75 million round of funding, boosting its valuation to $1.7 billion.

“We want to enable banks and financial institutions to be there as trusted advisors for every financial milestone and to keep up with constantly changing consumer expectations and market dynamics. Blend will help lenders deliver the right product at the right time and with no friction,” said Nima Ghamsari, co-founder and CEO of Blend. “With our unified platform, our partners are able to accelerate digital innovation across every line of business.”

Blend’s no-code platform provides banks with a component library, product templates, no-code drag-and-drop workflows, integrated data services, and control over design elements. The added capabilities will help banks meet the needs of their consumers– from opening a new account to applying for a loan.

The out-of-the-box nature of Blend’s products was key for M&T Bank, which needed a quick-to-market solution for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. “We needed to help them process more loans in a few hours… than we had done in a full year,” said Chris Kay, executive vice president of Consumer Banking, Business Banking and Marketing. “By partnering with Blend, we were able to move quickly and be there for our customers when they needed it the most — spinning up a new digital product to process these loans in just 72 hours. Thanks in large part to Blend’s platform, 100 percent of our customers were able to receive the essential funds that could help their businesses survive.”

Blend’s Digital Lending Platform is used by M&T Bank, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and 250+ other financial services companies. Founded in 2012, the company helps these banks process more than $3.5 billion in mortgages and consumer loans each day.

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Blend Boosts Valuation to $1.7 Billion After New Funding Round

Blend Boosts Valuation to $1.7 Billion After New Funding Round

Mortgagetech has historically been one of the last sectors of fintech to see innovation. However, with digitization en vogue because of COVID-19, there has been an uptick in interest in companies looking to make closing on a home mortgage easier.

As evidence, U.S.-based Blend is gaining attention today for a fresh round of funding and a new valuation. The company landed $75 million in Series F funding, bringing its total raised to $365 million and increasing its valuation to almost $1.7 billion.

The round was led by Canapi Ventures. Existing investors Temasek, General Atlantic, 8VC, Greylock, and Emergence also participated.

“Financial institutions have traditionally taken time to modernize legacy systems, but digital is now table stakes. Shelter in place and social distancing mandates have forced banks and other lenders to accelerate digital transformation plans from years to months,” said Jeffrey Reitman, a partner at Canapi Ventures. “Blend is at the forefront of this innovation, offering flexible digital solutions to help lenders like Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Truist, M&T Bank, and other key regional banking institutions meet their accelerated timelines and their customers’ changing needs.”

Blend, a banking-as-a-service company that aims to create a “less stressful, more accessible lending experience,” will use the funds to expand its products and broaden its strategy. Specifically, Blend will likely bolster the consumer banking and auto loans offerings it launched late last year.

“Our goal is to deliver software that gives lenders the flexibility to meet the evolving needs of consumers,” said Marc Greenberg, head of finance at Blend. “We’re committed to being the digital layer that enables millions of people to gain access to the capital they need, while helping our customers be there as trusted advisors for every milestone in a consumer’s financial journey.”

Among Blend’s new launches this year are a digital closing solution for mortgages and home equity loans, a mobile app for loan officers, and new reporting tools for lenders. Since the start of 2020, Blend has brought on 130+ new employees and helped its bank clients process more than $771 billion in consumer loans– over $3.5 billion each day.

Photo by Irina Murza on Unsplash

Blend Integrates with Mortgage Credit Specialist Avantus

Blend Integrates with Mortgage Credit Specialist Avantus

Hot on the heels of the launch of its “one tap” mortgage preappoval solution, mortgagetech innovator Blend is back in the fintech headlines with news of its partnership with Avantus. The integration will enable mortgage borrowers using Blend’s digital lending platform to access Avantus’ Tri-Merge credit reports.

“Blend has helped many Avantus clients create a more streamlined end-to-end lending solution, with impressive results,” Avantus president Louis Capobianco said. “We’re excited to be part of the Blend platform and look forward to working on our shared goal of helping lenders close more loans.”

Headquartered in West Haven, Connecticut, Avantus provides customized mortgage credit reports and related services that enable loan originators, credit unions, banks, and lenders to streamline and accelerate the approval process, as well as keep costs low. With more than 75 years of experience in analyzing consumer data, the company announced a partnership with digital mortgage platform ARIVE earlier this month that will bring its customized credit reports to a broader range of independent mortgage brokers and wholesale lenders.

“We’re pleased to add Avantus to our platform, expanding options for lenders pulling credit within Blend, and further strengthening and optimizing the consumer’s mortgage experience,” Blend’s Head of Business Development Brian Martin said. “Partnering with Avantus will support our mission to continue to deliver a best-in-class lending experience for consumers and lenders.”

Founded in 2012 and based in San Francisco, California, Blend demonstrated its “Data-Driven Mortgage” solution at FinovateSpring 2016. The company is also an alum of our developers conference, presenting its technology at FinDEVrSiliconValley 2016.

Named one of the best places to work by, Blend launched a deposit account in April that enabled its customers to improve the digital account opening experience on both mobile and desktop. Mountain America Credit Union, which deployed the product in one month, now has 53% of its applications arrive via a mobile channel that had not been previously available for deposits. The credit union also reported a 45% decrease in account opening times.

Also this spring, Blend announced a partnership with FGMC’s direct-to-consumer division, Goodmortgage, helping the Plano, Texas-based lender develop a “simpler and more sophisticated online mortgage process.”

In July, Blend locked in an investment of $130 million in a round led by Temasek and General Atlantic. The funding took the company’s total to $290 million.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Blend Integrates with Mortgage Credit Specialist Avantus.

Around the web

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  • 3E Software’s Teslar Software adds Pendleton Community Bank to list of clients.
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This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Blend Raises $130 Million in Series E

Blend Raises $130 Million in Series E

In a round led by Temasek and General Atlantic, digital lending technology innovator Blend has raised $130 million in new funding. The Series E round boosts the company’s total capital to $310 million and will help power its development of additional consumer lending solutions as Blend pursues what it calls “a one-tap lending future.”

Also participating in the round were existing investors 8VC, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Blend also announced that former Pixar CFO Ann Mather will join the company as an independent board member.

“Together with our partners, we’ve made significant strides in transforming lending experiences for consumers and institutions across the country,” Blend founder and CEO Nima Ghamsari said. “As we build toward a more transparent and frictionless future where lending transactions happen in one tap, we’re grateful to have the experience of Ann (Mather), along with the teams at Temasak and General Atlantic, in our corner for this journey.”

Blend’s funding news comes in the wake of the company’s latest product release, a new mobile-first deposit account solution that lenders can offer to loan applicants. The solution helps lenders build loyalty and convert mortgage customers into account holders, and integrates seamlessly into other Blend workflows, core banking, and CRM systems.

Speaking for Mountain America Credit Union, which partnered with Blend last spring, SVP Kelly Albiston highlighted the upsides of committing to Blend’s technology: “By partnering with them on multiple products, including deposit opening, we are providing a consistent and streamlined experience for our members across the board and taking friction out of the process,” Albiston said. Utah-based Mountain America CU has $8.5 billion in assets, and is the 12th largest credit union by membership in the United States with more than 740,000 members.

Blend demonstrated its Data-Driven Mortgage at FinovateSpring 2016. The company also participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, later that year. Founded in 2012, the company offers a digital lending platform for mortgage and home equity lending that reduces loan cycle times by as much as 50%. Blend has spent much of this year launching new products – including digital HELOC and HELOAN offerings – as well as expanding its partnership with Salesforce. The company currently processes almost $2 billion in U.S. mortgages daily, supports more than 150 lender clients, and has grown its customer base by 3x from 2017 to 2018.

Blend was named one of the best places to work by Inc. earlier this year, and was honored with a spot in the Forbes Fintech 50, as well. Also this year, the company added former Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos as President. Blend is headquartered in San Francisco, California.