Home Equity Lending News

Autonomous Home Equity Wholesaler Eyes Correspondent



A wholesale lender that provides an autonomous home-equity process for home lenders that are pivoting from refinances has its eye on the correspondent channel.

NFTYDoor LLC reportedly provides a plug-and-play home-equity platform that is autonomous for its clients. The digital platform enables loan originators to close more home-equity transactions with less work.

In an August 2022 launch announcement, the McLean, Virginia-based company said, “NFTYDoor is a proprietary digital end-to-end platform that leverages artificial intelligence to automate underwriting, closing, funding, and servicing. These innovations are regulatory compliant and reduce origination time and costs.”

Its website promotes home-equity loans and home-equity lines of credit that require only one-minute applications. Pre-qualifications are “instant,” and loans are closed “in as little as three days” on investor-owned houses. Loan amounts range from $25,000 to $250,000. The fixed-rate loan terms are 25 years.

Mark Schacknies, CEO, NFTYDoor

Their typical customer is an independent mortgage banking firm where refinances had accounted for 60 percent of their originations that is looking for alternative products, NFTYDoor CEO Mark Schacknies said in an interview. The LO sends the prospective borrower a link to a branded application with nine simple questions. The application is then verified through NFTYDoor’s automated process.

While the company has a retail channel, it is a small segment of the operation.

“Our whole business model is B2B,” Schacknies said. “So, we are basically creating a turnkey solution for other lenders so that they have a plug-and-play solution to be able to offer home-equity loan right now.”

He said that since their launch, they have signed up 22 new clients. While the company is currently only licensed in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., it is quickly expanding its licensing in response to customers who are pressing it to be licensed in all 50 states.

“We think there is a multi-year, very interesting … opportunity in front of us,” Schacknies said.

With the wholesale model, loans are originated in the name of NFTYDoor. There are plans, however, to add a correspondent channel so the companies can close in their own name and utilize there own capital markets network or portfolio if they choose. Opening a correspondent business would enable NFTYDoor to avoid licensing issues and immediately expand business to all 50 states.

About half of its loans make it through the process with very little human involvement. It is when human involvement is needed that NFTYDoor staff jump into action.

“The only way you’re going to get back to the go-go years is through volume,” he concluded. “And for volume, you need automation.”

There are 22 people working in support of the company, including six full-time employees.

Schacknies said that last year’s volatile capital markets saw rates increase faster than ever, the bond market deteriorate to its worst level ever, and a liquidity crunch emerge. Even today, the markets remain “choppy.”

Credit unions, he explained, had been accumulating home-equity assets at below-market rates. Now that their deposits are diminishing and they need to sell, the weighted-average coupon on their portfolio would require a substantial discount to sell.

NFTYDoor is able to mitigate capital markets turmoil thanks to an in-house partnership with an asset manager that solely focuses on residential mortgage-backed securities.

“They kind of provide a bit of an insulation to the direct  capital markets in the sense that they are our first investor as well as, effectively, our risk retention partner,” Schacknies explained. “If the waves are too choppy, they can hold it on their books.”

NFTYDoor hasn’t yet reached the scale needed for securitization, and their loans are sold in direct pool sales to direct buyers.