LendingTree & Stash survey COVID-19’s consumer impact

While it may still be too early to tell how the pandemic will affect customers’ personal finances for the long term, some preliminary data tell a mixed story. A recent the three-part survey on the impact of the pandemic on customers conducted by LendingTree LLC and investment advisor Stash, found one in four people expect to retire later than anticipated due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. 

That sentiment is especially true for 34% of those who make less than $35,000 a year, 29% of the Gen X survey participants (ages 44 to 55), as well as 30% Latino and 28% black consumers.

The survey took a broad look at spending, savings, investing and retirement planning to unveil the pandemic’s impact on Americans’ financial health at the peak of the pandemic based on responses from nearly 5,000 consumers.

Part 1 focuses on how the various financial challenges brought by the pandemic affected Americans’ quality of life; Part 2 dives into the ways consumers changed the amount of money they spend; Part 3 highlights behavior changes in investing risk level, portfolio diversification and amount.

“The coronavirus pandemic illuminated what we already know: most Americans’ margin for financial error is tiny, and that’s evident in the fact that nearly half of consumers were unprepared for the pandemic and its negative economic repercussions,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. “The good news is many consumers learned from their lack of preparation and are more focused on building up their savings for the next emergency. Still, it’s all the more clear that there is a massive wealth gap in this country, and some populations, especially people of color and low-income individuals, are having trouble paying this month’s bills, let alone setting extra money aside.”

The report’s key findings include:

  • People of color are facing heavy financial challenges amid the pandemic – with 64% of black consumers and 62% of Latinos cited facing at least one struggle due to the pandemic, compared with 49% of their white peers.
  • Up to 76% of consumers have increased spending onface-masks; 60% on groceries and necessities; and 40% on digital entertainment subscriptions. The top three areas of consumer spending decline are dining out and nightlife (67%), travel (58%) and car rentals or purchases (25%).
  • More than one in five consumers, or 22%, began investing for the first time, which includes those who aren’t traditionally big investors, such as women, who comprised 25% of all new investors; and young Generation Z adults (aged 18 to 24) 28%.
  • Men were more likely to invest more money, and take more financial risks during the pandemic than women – who maintained pre-pandemic levels.

“While some Americans seamlessly transitioned to remote work, millions of others faced unforeseen job loss. Similarly, certain groups invested their money for the very first time, while others struggled to afford everyday necessities,” added Mindy Yu, director of investments at Stash. “As we continue to experience the economic fallout of the pandemic, it’s clear that prioritizing and supporting Americans’ financial health remains a top priority.” 

CMG Financial & Realty ONE initiate joint venture 

Privately held mortgage banking firm CMG Financial and real estate brokerage Realty ONE Group announced the launch of their joint venture partnership, EPiQ LENDING

The partnership’s name is meant to represent the unification of “Epic and IQ” to deliver an untraditional home buying and mortgage experience for EPiQ LENDING’s clients through customized financial guidance throughout the home buying transaction, according to a joint statement.    

“With a combination of our proven mortgage platform and engaged partner with a network of over 15,000 agents, EPiQ LENDING is poised to be one of the best destinations for loan officers,” said Chris Harris, senior vice president and national joint venture manager at CMG Financial. 

Realty ONE Group brings to the partnership areal estate franchise powered by technology and thousands of real estate professionals across 39 states, Washington D.C. and Canada. 

Meanwhile CMG Financial, which specializes in joint ventures, holds federal agency lending approvals with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Administration and other federal agencies, provides retail, wholesale and correspondent lending in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

Together, the joint venture said, the two partners empower EPiQ LENDING loan officers with access to “all the competitive advantages of a direct lender,” including localized processing and underwriting, proprietary loan products and national support, to offer clients a personalized mortgage financing experience. 

E Mortgage changes company name & brand

E Mortgage Management, LLC. (EMM) reported the start of the firm’s transition into operating under its new legal name of EMM LOANS LLC and new brand logo emmloans.

Kevin Crichton, president and chief operating officer of the Cherry Hill, N.J. headquartered, direct residential mortgage lender said EMM LOANS LLC reflects the fact that the company has entered a unique period of “unparalleled volume and rapid growth.”

The rebranding strategy reportedly aims to advance EMM’s vision for better mortgage lending experiences and leveraging the company’s new digital technology platform, EZPath to reposition EMM as a national household name.

“The original brand served its purpose in shaping the company’s formative years,” continued Crichton. “With the implementation of essential digital technology, our lending platform became fast, simple and transparent.” The new digital lending platform EZPath has played a major role in helping expedite the loan origination process, making the customer journey smooth and easy.

“Pair this, with the current real estate market at an all-time high,” he added, and it became obvious that “the logical shift to transition our brand through the modernization of a new name, brand and color palette refresh would solidify our position in the marketplace.” Collectively, these developments will further play their part in the company’s evolution. 

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