When I decided to try out lendingtree.com for both an auto loan and a home equity loan, I thought there would be some real competition for my business, meaning interest rate competition and lenders willing to meet my needs. I was quite sadly disappointed. The only competition was several lenders competing for my business at standard terms offered to anyone on the street.
Recommend this product?
The premise of lendingtree is that you enter your desired loan terms and financial information, and lenders then compete for your business by offering you terms for you to choose from.
The web site is simple enough, though a bit kludgy. For example, even though I had become a “member” I had to enter a lot of the same information twice. This is not how a site should be user friendly.
Also, every loan has its own “password” so you have to log on separately to check multiple loans. This is a real bummer - you should be able to log in with your member name and see all your loans.
The site offers a variety of resource - links, calculators, etc. that are helpful but nothing special. I won’t focus on them here.
My auto loan attempt was a complete bust. I was looking at a used Lexus SUV, and wanted a pretty hefty loan ($30K), and I wanted to emulate a lease by getting a six year loan. Lendingtree had an option for a six year loan, and I selected it. I was told within one minute that there were no offers for me - now does that sound like anyone was offering six year loans? Why offer it.
Well fine then, I thought I would try a five year loan - everyone has those. It turns out that you can only apply for one type of loan in a two or three day period. The tech support response on this was that some sort of information had to be cleared or reset. I find it to be baloney - lendingtree must know that people will be declined for loans and then want to change terms, and it didn’t let me. I never did reapply, as I was too turned off by the Home Equity Loan application.
FYI: I didn’t buy the Lexus SUV - yet...
Home Equity Loan
I was told immediately that four lenders were interested, and that terms would follow. I got some terms immediately, and some took a couple days. I found this dubious - how is it that the bank knows they wanted me before they even considered the information? I felt that I wasn’t getting the best 4 offers, just the first 4 to respond (or even worse, just 4 lenders randomly).
It took about 3 days to get all the offers in, though 3 of the 4 were in during the first business day. One, Wells Fargo, replied within 24 hours, despite it being a weekend.
I thought that I would get some really competitive rates because, well, that’s what lendingtree is advertising. Not so. The rates were all adjustable, and all 1.5% or more above the fixed rate at my credit union. You call that be competitive?
Now, I wasn’t expecting credit union rates (well, maybe I was, why else would I have applied), but don’t you think they could have gotten close?
Release the Hounds
Be aware that these lenders really, really, really want your business. I have received at least 10 phone calls from various lenders, loan documents, flyers, and emails trying to get me to sign up. What they aren’t offering are better terms. That, I think, was the worst part. Right after I received the loan terms, the Fed dropped rates half a percent. Despite all the calls, not one of the banks called me to tell me that the interest rates had dropped and I would get a better deal. The message to me was that I would not receive the best deal through this process.
Read all comments (23)