American Banker, May 2011
By Austin Kilgore
Google Inc. has built off its early results providing mortgage rate searches by launching a one-stop shopping tool for consumers, allowing them to compare residential loans, and other consumer banking products.
The official launch of Google's Advisor portal came last week. Through the site, consumers are connected to all the company's financial search engines, where they can view information on not only mortgages, but credit cards, checking and savings accounts, and CDs.
Providers of these services pay Google to advertise rates on these products, which are funneled to the engine through various product and pricing technologies.
In the mortgage space, for example, providers like Mortech, OpenClose and others provide rate data and lead-generation management technology to Google so their shared customers can connect with potential borrowers.
Search users enter basic information about their financial profile and needs to get search results without giving personal information to the advertiser.
Users can narrow their search results and compare multiple products. Only when a borrower decides to contact the financial institution does the advertiser get the contact's information.
Google began testing its mortgage search rates tool, Comparison Ads, in late 2009. By offering rate searches for multiple financial products, Google increases its opportunities to sell advertising to lenders beyond its keyword search ads.
"With Google Advisor, you enter information about what you're looking for in a mortgage, credit card, CD, or checking and savings account. We show you a list of the offers that match your criteria, along with rates and contact information," said Simon Arscott, Google Advisor's product manager.