Is Marcus Inching Closer to the Mortgage Market?

Marcus, the consumer lending platform of Goldman Sachs, added a new tool that lets users estimate the value certain renovations would add to the price of their house, before applying for a home improvement loan, Bank Innovation has learned.

The move reiterates Marcus’ interest in building its loan offerings in the home improvements sector, as well as hints to a possible progression into the mortgage loans space.

The calculator tool, which went live yesterday, is called Home Addition Calculator and was built in-house with the help of real estate focused data analytics and valuation platform, HouseCanary.

The calculator looks at public information and market factors, such as multiple listing service (MLS), sales and other data to estimate property values, a Marcus spokesperson explained to Bank Innovation. The tool will provide users realtime estimates for the value of a home based on additions ranging from bathroom, bedroom, pool and square footage expansion.  Additionally, the calculator will show users how these renovations impact the value of their homes. The calculator is a free tool for Marcus customers.

As for mortgage loans, although Marcus has not explicitly stated its interest in entering the space, Harit Talwar, head of Marcus – on numerous occasions- has talked about the firm’s goal of expanding its loan offerings beyond the two core products. Right now, those core products are its fixed-rate, no-fee personal loans, and its online savings account. The home improvement loan offering was added at the beginning of this year, in January. These loans range from $3,500 to $40,000 for periods of three to six years.

But if Marcus wants to get into the mortgage business, now would be a good time. A recent report from Moody’s shows that household debt grew 3.5% in 2Q18 over the corresponding quarter last year, which means consumers are taking out more loans. “We expect the rate of loan growth to increase over the next year because of the solid employment market and high consumer confidence,” the report read.

Aside from mortgage, Marcus is eyeing wealth management and retirement products, Bank Innovation previously reported. 

Launched in 2016, Marcus’s platform provides its users access to products either manufactured or distributed by Goldman Sachs. Marcus was designed as an open architecture platform, with no branches, so it can scale at lower costs. These lower costs also allow Marcus to provide a higher basis point interest rate on its personal loans, which currently ranges from $3,000 to $40,000.

So far, Marcus has already originated $3.5 billion in personal loans. It surpassed its $2 billion goal for December 2017, a month earlier.

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