Blog Archives | Blend


Blend Announces $150 Million Investment from Haveli

New strategic partnership to enhance long-term growth and value creation for Blend customers.

To all our customers—

Today, we announced a $150 million investment from Haveli at approximately a 44% premium to our closing stock price.

If you read nothing else below this, here are three takeaways from this that matter for you:

  1. We’re investing in the future of mortgage and consumer banking, like we always have.
  2. We’re now debt-free and have an even stronger balance sheet. We are here for the long haul.
  3. We provided information to Haveli for their review of our business, including our customer base. We have YOU to thank for this milestone.

We have always been a leader in innovation in the mortgage tech space, and in our more nascent consumer banking tech space. Not only does this mean we will continue to innovate in all aspects of our business, but Haveli will be a strong, supportive partner in this innovation.

The Haveli team has deep technology investing and operating experience, especially in fintech, and we are eager to partner with them to continue serving our customers while driving industry change. I can’t wait to see what we can do together, and I expect them to be jet fuel for our business.

On the topic of our balance sheet, I’ve spoken with a number of you about how tough the macro is and the worries you have about your critical partners. While I’ve always felt good about our balance sheet and our customer base, I realize that we’ve never seen an industry environment like this. With this new fundraise, you can check this off the list of things you have to wonder about. We’re completely debt free and focused on continuing to drive the change we’ve been driving for the last decade.

On the last point, I can’t thank you enough, our hundreds of customers, for all your help over the last 10 years. I know Haveli talked to many of you over the past couple months and the positive sentiments you shared mean everything to us. We are now focused entirely on the future. There’s a lot of work to do, and we are tremendously excited to charge forward.

Here’s to the next 10 years together. I can’t think of a better group of partners to be on this journey with.

Nima Ghamsari

Forward-Looking Statements

This blog post contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements may relate to, but are not limited to, quotations of management and others; Blend’s expectations regarding its financial condition and operating performance, including growth opportunities and plans for future operations and competitive position; Blend’s products, pipeline, and technologies; Blend’s strategies for growth; the impact of the Haveli investment on Blend’s financial position; Blend’s ability to create long-term shareholder value; and Blend’s expectations for changes in revenue, as well as assumptions relating to the foregoing. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “could,” “would,” “intend,” “target,” “project,” “contemplate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology that concern Blend’s expectations, strategy, plans or intentions. You should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by which such performance or results will be achieved, if at all.

Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time those statements are made and/or management’s good faith beliefs and assumptions as of that time with respect to future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include the risks that: changes in economic conditions, such as mortgage interest rates, credit availability, real estate prices, inflation or consumer confidence, adversely affect our industry, markets and business, we fail to retain our existing customers or to acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner; our customers fail to maintain their utilization of our products and services; our relationships with any of our key customers were to be terminated or the level of business with them significantly reduced over time; we are unable to compete in highly competitive markets; we are unable to manage our growth; we are unable to make accurate predictions about our future performance due to our limited operating history in an evolving industry and evolving markets; we are unable to successfully integrate or realize the benefits of our acquisition of Title365; our restructuring actions do not result in the desired outcomes or adversely affect our business, impairment charges on certain assets have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations; Blend’s expectations regarding the investment and its impact do not materialize; we are unable to generate sufficient cash flows or otherwise maintain sufficient liquidity to fund our operations and satisfy our liabilities. Further information on these risks and other factors that could affect our financial results are set forth in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023. In light of these risks and uncertainties, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this blog post may not occur and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. These factors could cause actual results, performance, or achievement to differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment. New risks and uncertainties emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all risks and uncertainties that could have an impact on the forward-looking statements contained in this blog post. Except as required by law, Blend does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments, or otherwise.

First State Bank of St. Charles maximizes value through Blend

Learn how additional training resulted in a 98% adoption of Blend’s Mortgage Suite from FSB Loan Officers and Processors.

In the competitive landscape of mortgage banking, delivering exceptional experiences to borrowers while simultaneously optimizing operational efficiency is paramount. Executives across the mortgage industry understand the importance of partnering with technology providers to simplify and streamline workflows for their lending teams, but many don’t prioritize the ongoing training and support their teams need to fully utilize the platforms that have been implemented.

For First State Bank of St. Charles (FSB), partnering with Blend’s Customer Enablement Team to enable their mortgage team with the right tools and knowledge has been instrumental in driving business value, boosting customer success, and maintaining a competitive advantage.

Blend’s robust Customer Enablement Program sets us apart from our competitors by focusing on user success, seamless platform adoption, and ongoing support. Our enablement sessions also give us the opportunity to gather valuable feedback that can drive product development based on actual customer needs.

Customer Spotlight: First State Bank of St. Charles

First State Bank of St. Charles’ journey with enablement sessions showcases the transformative impact it can have on organizational success.

Despite facing challenges such as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent shift to remote work, FSB remained committed to driving adoption and maximizing the full potential of Blend after becoming a customer in February 2020. By offering online training sessions, Blend was able to ensure continuity in their enablement efforts.

Prior to these sessions, many loan officers viewed Blend merely as an application tool for gathering borrower information. Even with Blend’s LO Toolkit at their disposal, some loan officers didn’t understand how to take advantage of it and continued to push applications to their loan origination system, Encompass.

After the pandemic, hosting enablement sessions for end users in-person in Kansas City and St. Louis proved to be pivotal. With a total of 70-75 loan officers and processors in attendance, the sessions were focused on Blend’s LO Toolkit, LO Mobile, and the Agent App. These sessions provided hands-on training, a format that resonated deeply with the team. The interactive training sessions provided a conducive environment for learning, enabling the team to more effectively explore Blend’s functionalities and ask questions. As a result, they discovered untapped features and realized the full extent of Blend’s functionality beyond basic application processing.

Jody Adray, Vice President of Mortgage Information Systems at First State Bank, recalls: “The transition to in-person training was pivotal for us. It allowed our team to delve deeper into Blend’s capabilities and truly grasp how much more efficient we could be. The hands-on experience facilitated a level of understanding and engagement that simply wasn’t possible with remote training.”

The commitment to ongoing enablement didn’t stop there. First State Bank recognized the importance of regular refreshers and updates, and Blend made plans to conduct training sessions 2-3 times a year for admins and end users alike. Loan officers began to adjust settings based on feedback, leading to a more tailored and efficient workflow. Notably, First State Bank made the decision to turn off Consumer Connect. Now, 98 percent of applications come through Blend, a testament to its central role in First State Bank’s operations.

In addition, Blend’s consistent customer support stood out for First State Bank. Compared to other platforms, Blend’s support system proved invaluable, providing guidance and assistance every step of the way. Looking ahead, First State Bank’s plans to prioritize regular training sessions to ensure continued optimization of Blend’s features and configurations.

FSB’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of enablement. By investing in their team and partners, they not only maximized the value of their platform but also strengthened relationships, improved customer experiences, and gained a competitive edge. As businesses navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape, prioritizing enablement will continue to be key to long-term success.

Why Enablement Matters

Enablement isn’t just about training; it’s about empowering individuals and organizations to leverage the Blend platform to its fullest potential. The Customer Enablement team at Blend offers onsite and virtual training opportunities to ensure Loan Officers, Processors, Analysts, and other mortgage professionals know the latest functionality of the Blend Mortgage Suite and feel confident with the technology. Enablement sessions have proven to be a catalyst for:

1. Driving Business Value

  • Faster ROI: Equipped lenders see value quicker, leading to improved return on investment. Blend’s Mortgage Suite eliminates an average of 8 days from the overall loan cycle time – from processing to closing – resulting in $914 in average cost savings per loan, according to a 2023 impact analysis conducted by MarketWise Advisors.
  • Increased Feature Utilization: Understanding the Blend platform’s full potential enables lenders to leverage industry-changing features, reducing workload and enhancing borrower experience.
  • Reduced Support Tickets: Efficient onboarding and training minimize reliance on ongoing support, allowing for organic scalability.

2. Boosting Customer Success

  • Smoother User Experience: Effective enablement reduces frustration and confusion, leading to a more positive journey for end users.
  • Stronger Partnerships: Empowering partners with product knowledge fosters stronger collaborations and mutual success.

Ready to schedule an enablement session for your team? Reach out to your Blend Customer Success Manager for next steps.

10 digital features to supercharge your deposits growth

Breaking down the most impactful features of a fully digital, end-to-end deposit account solution.

The current account opening experience is still outdated

For many banks and credit unions, achieving a fully digital, end-to-end account opening solution is still a distant goal. Cross-selling experiences, omni-channel capabilities, and banker productivity tools are often lacking, resulting in suboptimal digital experiences requiring extensive customization and manual intervention throughout the origination process.

And all of these pain points have real business implications.

  • High abandonment and loss of revenue resulting from interruptions and disruptions in the digital experience
  • Frustrated customers when you’re too difficult to do business with, especially when migrating across channels
  • Missed cross-sell opportunities due to being overly focused on application process versus focusing on the customer’s goals and financial wellness
  • Slower and more expensive origination process due to highly manual and labor intensive processes

Best-in-class digital onboarding journeys

For over 12 years, Blend has been tackling these pain points. We began with the mortgage loan origination process – the most complex type of loan – and helped hundreds of customers completely redefine the origination experience for homebuyers, loan origination officers and Realtors.

We’ve since created similar transformations across consumer lending solutions like deposit accounts, credit cards and consumer loans with many financial institutions, including 7 of the top 30 financial institutions by number of retail customers.

These partnerships have allowed us to gather millions of data points that, over time, have allowed us to design and refine best-in-class digital onboarding journeys with features that are more effective at driving conversion and growth.

Here is a look at what a best-in-class deposit account solution with a deeper digital onboarding experience can unlock for your business.

The top 10 features powering deposits growth

Journey showing 10 digital features that supercharge digital deposit growth

Learn more about Blend Deposit Accounts

It doesn’t stop there. In addition to the rich features that enhance conversion and reduce the risk of fraud, Blend’s Deposit Account solution also offers omni-channel capabilities that meet your borrowers where they are, dynamic cross-sell offers that 
deepen relationships, and much more.

Key Takeaways from CBA Live 2024

Serve up a digital banking strategy that delivers on speed and quality.

In a world where instant gratification is the norm, the banking industry has started indexing on speed as one of the biggest competitive advantages. But consumers are no longer just looking for speed – they want it all: consistency across channels, self-serve options, proactive outreach, a human touch, and personalized recommendations. In addition, speed typically comes with added expense to fulfillment teams and requires front line staff to chase customers down to complete the rest of their account setup steps.

This week at CBA Live 2024, Marc White, Head of Solutions Engineering at Blend, delved into the importance of delivering a superior digital banking experience, while drawing parallels with the fast food industry. In this session, Marc covered the essential ingredients for winning bank primacy, growing deposits and depositors, deepening customer relationships, and creating quality “food” fast – not “fast food.”

The psychology behind consumer purchasing decisions 

There is a wealth of information about a person that exists, whether through their online presence, social media accounts, or the financial institutions and merchants they interact with. The companies that have differentiated themselves have found a way to leverage that information to better address the needs of the person.

This wealth of information also means that consumers are constantly being inundated with opinions masquerading as sound advice. In other words, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to parse through all that noise to find quality guidance.

So, what is the key to reaching these consumers and cutting through the noise? Typically, a person is most comfortable doing what they already know – and if what they know can become easier, they are more likely to choose that path. That’s what influences their purchasing decision.

What can we learn from McDonald’s?

Before we dive into the qualities of an excellent digital banking experience, there are some important lessons we can learn from the fast food industry. McDonald’s was founded in 1948 with a core business principle of catering to as many people as possible. They focused on a limited menu – burgers, fries, and shakes – selling them for half the price in half the time compared to competing restaurants.

McDonald’s became known for their order-at-the-counter service vs. relying on waiters and waitresses. Instead of cooking each meal to order, the food was prepared ahead of time and kept warm under heat lamps. Their key metric was speed.

In the 1950s, McDonald’s started franchising and today they have over 40,000 stores in the U.S.
Their objective to make food as quickly as possible for as many people as possible remains the same. And that’s what consumers know and have come to expect with fast food establishments. It’s the place you go to when you need something fast and convenient; you’re not necessarily expecting something healthy and fresh.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the concept of “fast casual” dining emerged. Their business model was to continue to serve food fast, but they prioritize fresh, high-quality food with fewer frozen or processed ingredients.

In 2004, the documentary “Super Size Me” was released, changing the way people viewed what they choose to put in their bodies. Suddenly, there was an overabundance of information out there about healthy eating, diet culture, and the importance of fresh, nutritious ingredients. People started making more informed decisions about their food choices. They still wanted food fast, but they now also value high-quality options, personalized recommendations, and easy, intuitive experiences.

Today, Chipotle, Shake Shack, Sweet Green, and Panera are all examples of fast casual establishments that focus on quality ingredients and personalization without sacrificing convenience and speed.

So, what did McDonald’s teach us? People will always be focused on doing what they’ve been doing, and it’s even better if you can find an easier way to do it. And perhaps most importantly, education affects behavior.

Changes in consumer behavior have impacted financial services and banking 

Similarly, the banking landscape has witnessed significant shifts in consumer behavior. With a growing preference for digital banking channels, traditional brick-and-mortar branches have seen reduced foot traffic. According to a Forbes Advisor 2022 Digital Banking Survey, 78% of adults in the U.S. prefer to bank digitally, expecting seamless, rewarding experiences from their financial institutions. However, outdated technology and inconsistent service hinder banks from meeting these expectations, leading to decreased customer loyalty.

How do banks meet consumers’ evolving needs?

To address these challenges, banks must prioritize the full banking experience, not just speed. The best account opening process offers a people-centric, automated, end-to-end experience, accommodating various account types and structures. By simplifying the account opening process and surfacing relevant product offerings, banks can reduce abandonment rates, increase efficiency, and deepen customer relationships.

Here are the essential ingredients for an excellent account opening experience:

  • Prioritize the full experience: Speed, funding, cross-sell, and omni-channel are all important aspects; not just speed to open.
  • Make sure you are able to support a wide range of account types: The inability to support certain account types and structures can cause customers to abandon the process before they even start.
  • Provide self-serve options: Making it easy for customers to self-serve means the account requires less involvement from a banker to get completed, saving time, money, and resources.
  • Look for appropriate cross-sell opportunities: Surfacing complementary products or services that meet the customer’s needs can help deepen relationships. On the flip side, offering a product that a customer isn’t qualified for may lead to abandonment.

Can there be delightful experiences in banking? 

The key to delivering delightful banking experiences lies in balancing speed with quality and leveraging technology to automate manual tasks so you can focus on the most important thing – your relationship with your customer. By embracing proactive approaches and offering personalized financial advice, banks can win customers for life.

Union Bank & Trust implements omnichannel onboarding with Blend

Learn how Blend helped UBT elevate and accelerate its new account opening process.

Key Takeaways

  • Pain points: Disjointed online and in-branch experiences, difficulty authenticating existing customers during the account opening process
  • Solution: Blend’s omnichannel solution powers a smooth, consistent experience across origination channels, while accelerating onboarding, optimizing account conversion, and giving bankers time back to focus on deepening customer relationships
  • Impact: After implementing Blend, UBT was able to streamline its account opening experience to be under 5 minutes

Union Bank & Trust (UBT) is a privately owned bank based in Nebraska that offers complete banking, lending, investment, and trust services. The bank has 34 full-service and loan production offices in Nebraska and Kansas. UBT has grown steadily from a small bank into a mid-sized bank experiencing considerable growth just within recent years.

As UBT experienced this growth and developed plans for future growth, the UBT team identified a need to synchronize its digital and branch customer onboarding and account opening processes all within one platform. This realization led UBT to partner with Blend to elevate its digital onboarding customer experience and process that started within its mortgage area, expanded to its retail deposit digital account opening process, and is now synchronized and being rolled out in the branch environment.

Jason McCown, Business Relationship Manager, Retail at UBT, recounts the journey that began in 2019 when Blend was first implemented on the mortgage side. “We partnered with Blend just before the chaos of 2020. And I’m certain that we would not have had the record year that we did on the mortgage side without them,” said McCown. “We were only able to process the number of applications that we did because of Blend’s mortgage solution.”

The success of Blend in streamlining mortgage applications paved the way for its expansion into other areas of banking, including deposits. McCown, who oversees business relationships and retail solutions at UBT, was instrumental in championing Blend’s adoption across various banking functions.

Challenge: Create a fast, seamless, consistent account opening experience across all channels

Before implementing Blend, one of the primary obstacles UBT faced was the process of account opening for existing customers.

“It was fairly clumsy to authenticate existing customers. Our customer support group used to get several calls from customers who had started the application online, but had questions and weren’t able to finish. The customer would go in-branch seeking assistance to finish the application, and more times than not, the customer would have to start the application over completely.”

The other focus area was speed.

“From the very beginning, our executives wanted us to target a five-minute account opening process that became our North Star,” said McCown. “We wanted to be able to offer a simple, efficient onboarding experience, and that was what drove our evaluation as we considered providers.”

“From the very beginning, our executives wanted us to target a five-minute account opening process that became our North Star. We wanted to be able to offer a simple, efficient onboarding experience, and that was what drove our evaluation as we considered providers.”
Jason McCown
Business Relationship Manager, Retail, UBT

Solution: Adopt an omnichannel solution to streamline onboarding

Blend emerged as the ideal partner due to its proven track record on the mortgage side and commitment to enhancing the customer experience. The UBT team was particularly impressed by Blend’s omnichannel capabilities.

“A lot of our customers are college students who are trying to open a new account. They usually start the application online, and then realize they have questions and get stuck. Then they’ll come visit us in-branch to finish out the application. It was really important to us to be able to offer the omni-channel experience so that we could assist them,” said McCown.

Blend’s deposit solution enables UBT to provide for a fast and consistent onboarding experience across every channel because the unified platform synchronizes the process and collection of customer information. A customer can now complete the process seamlessly or pick up where they left off should they desire the assistance of UBT personnel in-branch.

Outcome: UBT increased digital account openings

According to McCown, since implementing Blend, UBT has been able to consistently hit a three-and-a-half-minute account opening time and has seen a substantial increase in digital account openings.

“After launching our new account opening experience, we felt more confident in increasing our marketing efforts to drive more potential and current customers to our digital account onboarding experience,” said McCown. “The result is that we have had significant increases in processing more applications and successfully opening more accounts online.”

Looking ahead, UBT envisions a holistic user experience across all banking products, both online and in-branch, with plans to adopt other Blend solutions, including instant HELOCs and consumer loans.

“The incredible thing about Blend is that you only need one product. And then our bankers only need to learn how to use that one product to do deposits, consumer loans, HELOCs and more.”
Jason McCown
Business Relationship Manager, Retail, UBT

“The incredible thing about Blend is that you only need one product. And then our bankers only need to learn how to use that one product to do deposits, consumer loans, HELOCs and more,” said McCown. “It saves us an enormous amount of training time since we’re not working on multiple systems. And there is a lot of excitement and satisfaction being expressed by our in-house customer service teams now that they are able to offer the same, consistent, amazing experience for our retail products.”

The recent extension of the partnership to a three-year agreement reflects UBT’s confidence in Blend’s ability to support its long-term strategic goals. By embracing digital innovation, UBT has transformed its ease of service throughout the bank and will always continue to set the bar high in delivering a superior customer experience.

What’s the true ROI for digital closings?

Moving from manual to automated processes saved Blend customers $78.02 per loan.

The emergence of digital closings has ushered in a new era of opportunity for lenders. Beyond enhancing convenience for borrowers, digitizing the closing experience has substantial benefits for lenders, including shortening the time it takes to close, reducing errors, and increasing ROI.

Recent data from a 2023 survey of Blend customers shows the tangible financial impact of embracing digital closings. According to the survey, lenders leveraging full eClose technology through Blend experienced a total financial impact of $243.75 per loan. This is a result of automation and efficiencies created for settlement agents, closing teams, notaries, and borrowers.

White rectangular card with two light blue boxes showing impact of Blend customers saving $78.02 per loan in 2023 and $243.73 functional and operational impact

Why should lenders consider digital closings?

  • Create a digital end-to-end experience: Lenders can shorten closing appointment times by allowing borrowers to eSign non-notarized documents before an in-person closing ceremony. Remote Online Notarization closing gives borrowers the flexibility to close anytime and meet a Notary, have their ID verified, and complete the closing ceremony via webcam.
  • Give borrowers a digital-first approach to closing: Instead of signing everything at the closing table, borrowers can eSign some or all closing documents from the comfort of their home. This not only saves time, but leaves less room for errors..
  • Save time with automation: Settlement agents will benefit from shorter closings because they have fewer documents to wet sign with the borrower. In addition, the lender has fewer documents to check post-closing.
  • Faster secondary market sales: Digital documents accelerate loan delivery and post-funding processes, which means lenders recognize gains on sale more quickly while reducing hedging expenses. With fewer documents to mail, that also helps lenders save on paper and postage.

The evidence is clear: mortgage companies that embrace digitalization and incorporate digital closing solutions into their operations stand to reap significant rewards, from improved operational efficiency to heightened customer satisfaction. In an industry where every minute and every dollar counts, the ROI of digital closings isn’t just a promise—it’s a crucial step towards future-proofing your business and staying ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving industry.