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In the information age, convenient does not always mean better. The quest to build faster, advanced platforms sometimes results in overwrought machines that value flash over function. Unfortunately, in many instances, customer service often disappears along the way. Despite this, innovation and personalized care need not work at cross-purposes. Indeed, the two have driven Arbor’s recently launched automated loan origination platform since day one.

Following extensive research, time and development, Arbor’s LoanExpress was launched in January 2015 for the multifamily investor. Its unique approach to handling the substantial documentation requirements innate within commercial lending is an extension of the residential lending industry’s immensely successful deployment of automated loan processing technology that began more than a decade ago.


Remembering the 90s
When we look at the evolution of loan processing automation, it’s impossible to ignore the correlation between this technology and the residential marketplace. Indeed, residential mortgage lending and automated loan processing grew up together in recent years and now it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

This marriage of technology and residential lending began when financial software giant Intuit acquired Rock Financial Mortgage in the late 1990s. From this union arose Quicken Loans, now one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the country.

Arbor, too, has deep roots in residential lending. The company began operations in 1983 as Arbor National Holdings, a residential lending firm that eventually grew to more than 1,200 employees while providing single-family loans to one in every three homes it the New York tri-state area. In 1995, Bank of America purchased Arbor National Holdings, but we retained our interests in commercial real estate lending, building the platform to for our designation as a Fannie Mae DUS® Multifamily lender, FHA MAP lender, Ginnie Mae Issuer and, most recently, a designated Freddie Mac Multifamily Program Plus® Seller / Servicer and national small balance loan lender.


Growing Up (and Out)
Arbor has used various limited forms of automation for the past 20 years. However, as clients have begun to express an interest in and acumen for more Internet-based systems, Arbor understood that it had to evolve in order to deliver even better customer service to borrowers. Arbor needed to look for ways to make the document collection process easier without losing the one-on-one dialogue central to its brand and business philosophy. A better solution would boast the same excellent standard of personalized customer service as well as technological convenience and efficiency. This solution would become what is known today as Arbor LoanExpress, a proprietary, sophisticated, user-friendly online hub where clients can submit and review loan documents quickly and securely. Clients can access the portal from anywhere and enjoy an interactive process with dedicated Arbor deal team members personally handling their loans.


Moving Forward
In 2014, Arbor worked with Freddie Mac to develop and eventually become a leader in another product line within the multifamily arena for loans in the $1 to $5 million volume range. Freddie Mac unveiled this national Small Balance Loan product in October 2014 to provide acquisition and refinance loans for the multifamily affordable housing marketplace.

Through Arbor LoanExpress, Arbor now has an unprecedented ability to offer its clients a uniquely streamlined approach for obtaining small balance loans under both the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac small loan programs. By creating a financing environment with tremendous loan processing efficiencies, interactive communication and, ultimately, speed-to-close, Arbor has built a new lending paradigm for multifamily borrowers. And now we look forward to introducing phase two of Arbor LoanExpress in the next few months. This new expanded platform will be positioned to further revolutionize the industry. For more information, please go to www.arborloanexpress.com.


Ivan Kaufman is chairman and CEO of Arbor Commercial Mortgage.