The market for U.S. home loans is $1.45 trillion. Nonbanks were responsible for 37.5 percent of U.S. home loans made last year, up from 26.7 percent in 2013. Start-ups like Sofi are also simplifying the process “I didn’t want to deal with a bank,” One consumer said. “I signed my offer sheets and loan documents on my phone while I was sitting in a bar.”
Four-year-old SoFi underwrites mortgages based on a person’s free cash flow, rather than debt-to-income ratio, the industry standard. That broadens the customer pool and allows SoFi to draw from borrowers on the student-loan side of its business. Most borrowers don’t need to submit tax returns. They can also sign everything electronically until they get to the closing table. “There isn’t a banker out there that doesn’t look at me and shake his head and say, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing,’” Cagney said. “But we’re doing it.” SoFi is funding loans with the help of credit lines from banks. The firm plans to bundle some of its mortgages into bonds starting next year, according to Cagney.