Banks Put on a Friendlier Face (But Will They Lend More Nicely?)

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Bankers were blamed for the housing crash of 2008, and considered the evil scourges of society. Today, many of those banks are working on a makeover, to “put on a friendlier face”.

The Texas-based company, Nationstar, is known for servicing delinquent loans during the mortgage meltdown. They took on delinquent loans and then tried to get borrowers to pay up.

Of course, many of those loans turned into foreclosures, which now makes them the “bad guy” in the minds of millions of borrowers. That’s the kind of image Nationstar would like to get away from.

Now that foreclosures have dwindled, the company – and other loan servicing companies – are trying to “rebrand” themselves, and to expand into other services.

So why not rebrand to a nicer, friendlier face, like say “Mr. Cooper?” That could be the new name for Nationstar!

Instead of going to Nationstar to get a loan, you could go see Mr. Cooper. And it’s working! We’re talking about it here at RealWealth, and many other media outlets are doing the same.

Auction.com helped sell properties that had foreclosed and then changed its name to “Ten-X” in January. The company did that because the old name was too closely associated with the selling of foreclosed homes and commercial properties.

Altisource Portfolio Solutions is also making changes. It’s a debt collection agency that recently bought rental-data company “RentRange” and real-estate-investment website “Investability”. The company is supposed to provide a service to investors who want to buy and rent single-family homes.

Now Nationstar is expanding beyond the servicing of bad loans. It has already launched a website called Xome that helps buyers find homes, real-estate agents, and loans. But why the name “Mr. Cooper” for the company’s new website?

CEO Jay Bray told the Wall Street Journal that the company wanted it to be a “bit radical” and to make “an emotional connection” with clients. On Market Watch, he said “Mr. Cooper” is meant to be an “advocate” for customers. He also said that customers and employees liked the name.

And he’s quoted on Seeking Alpha as saying, “The consumer mortgage experience is broken, and it’s time for someone to challenge convention and status quo in the industry.” He said the company is rethinking everything it does and that it’s on a mission to create the most customer-focused company in the industry.

He told Seeking Alpha that it’s 7 times more expensive to find new clients than to keep old ones. And that right now, Nationstar or the new Mr.Cooper.com, has two and a half million customers.

Housingwire says the CEO confirmed the company’s name change plan during a conference call in February. He also said the company plans to consolidate its Nationstar and its Greenlight Loans brands under the “Mr. Cooper” name.

It’s not just a name change, but talk of the name change and rebranding have been going on for several months, yet there have only been intermittent signs of the mysterious new “Mr. Cooper”.

According to Housingwire.com, it has now spotted the new “Mr. Cooper” website four times since it first started reporting on it in December. But, it says the website and social media posts about “Mr. Cooper” all quickly disappear once Housingwire reports on them.

It’s a funny sequence of events. HousingWire says it noticed a job posting by Nationstar that mentioned the use of a Los Angeles based “brand strategy firm” called Phenomenon to help come up with a new image. But after Housingwire reported on it, that part of the post disappeared.

And then, Housingwire says it noticed photos posted by employees on social media sites, including Instagram, of “Mr. Cooper” products or “swag” that they got from Nationstar. But once Housingwire reported on that, the posts also disappeared.

Housingwire also says it spotted a link on the Nationstar website for a “Mr. Cooper” online store. But once again, when Housingwire mentioned it, the link disappeared.

It’s probably just a matter of Nationstar trying to keep the lid on something that it expects to launch soon. But Housingwire says the last time it got a look at the website, it tried to explore it more deeply before it went away.

According to Housingwire, this new “Mr. Cooper” website says, “We’re changing a lot more than our name. We’re changing the entire home loan experience.”

It says it wants to keep things simple, focus on the solution, put customers first, and keep the dream of home-ownership alive. It includes a video that attempts to define “Mr. Cooper” saying he’s part CEO and part revolutionary. He’s also someone who will allegedly challenge the status quo, be a champion for his customers, and a cheerleader for his team. And, he’ll be the lender that borrowers will brag about.

Housingwire says it reached out to Nationstar after the last disappearing act and was told that developers are testing the site. When we’ve checked for the website MrCooper.com, it only says “this site can’t be reached.” So, we’ll just have to sit back and have a little patience. “Mr. Cooper” is bound to make his grand appearance in the near future.

I’ve seen a few reports saying Mr. Cooper.com might be launched sometime this summer, or later this year. But what really matters to us is whether or not “Mr. Cooper” will make it easier for people to get loans.

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