Shape Technologies CEO and co-founder Mike Cagney said that when it comes to keeping an eye on non-endemic players impacting the real estate market, he has his eyes on Walmart.
“Everyone should be watching the moves Walmart is making, because they are absolutely going to enter the mortgage space,” Cagney said in HousingWirethe 2021 Spring Summit event on Thursday.
FinLedger previously reported that Walmart announced that it would be partnering with the fintech investment firm Ribbit Capital to create a new fintech startup that will offer “innovative and affordable” financial products.
Cagney also separately told HousingWire on Thursday that he never intended to build a mortgage loan company. Upon leaving SoFi, Cagney and the founding team of Figure focused on the application of blockchain technology to financial services. But now, with the proof of concept cleared and a large war chest, he intends to buy a mortgage lender to achieve scale. You could even buy some of them.
At the event, Cagney said, somewhat jokingly, that when Figure seeks to acquire a mortgage lender “the less technology the better.”
“Because then it’s so much easier for us to come in and do what we want to do,” Cagney said. “Fortunately, within the mortgage universe, that gives us a fairly large area of opportunity.”
As a technology provider, Cagney explained, it is difficult to get the attention of mortgage producers because they are either booming or bankrupt.
“I’d rather have direct control,” Cagney said. “We already have our own mortgage origination business that is growing pretty fast right now. But we will do some acquisitions to scale. We have a recently launched SPAC that may also be making some acquisitions within the mortgage vertical. Not necessarily. But, I hope you see at least one major transaction from us this year. “
When it comes to staying ahead as a business, many companies consider in-house building technology or buying. But Mix CEO and Co-Founder Nima Ghamsari said at the event that the conversation between buy and build used to be very binary, but it has shifted to what lenders NEED to build alongside the solutions they buy. All through the lens of how lenders accelerate your growth.
“We don’t know exactly where this market is going, and we all have ideas,” Ghamsari said. “But in a world where no one knows exactly where they are going, being the one ahead and driving results, rather than [doing a] Passive, defensive play or defensive maneuver is the name of the game. So speed is the name of the game, that’s all I focus on. “
Meanwhile, Radian CTO Mark Wai said at the event that while the housing industry appears to be on the road to digitization, but from the point of view of a home buyer, home seller or real estate agent , the technology is not there yet.
“We have not seen the Uber type of experience in our industry, where the journey of buying or selling a house [and] the process of a mortgage transaction is faster, simpler and, in general, much more [more] more enjoyable experience than we have today, “Wai said,” overall, I feel like [have made] some progress. But I feel like we still have a long way to go ”.