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FINANCE

FormFree Pioneers Fair Mortgage Solutions, Promoting Minority Homeownership

FormFree Pioneers Fair Mortgage Solutions, Promoting Minority Homeownership

Brent Chandler, the founder and CEO of FormFree, brings over 25 years of expertise in mortgage and financial services technologies. He’s driven by a firm conviction to make a difference in the lives of others.

Instead of sitting behind a desk and staying quiet, Chandler is on the frontlines of the home lending revolution, championing and advocating for people often overlooked and underserved.

“The current system, governed by a select few, widens the gap between those with reliable credit access and those left behind,” says Chandler.

FormFree is not content with the status quo. The Athens, Georgia-based company is determined to challenge conventional perspectives and pave the way for a more inclusive and fair lending industry.

Through FormFree’s innovative lineup of apps, products and tools – like Passport Wallet, RIKI and FFX – the company is not just revolutionizing, but democratizing the home lending industry, offering a more accessible and fair future for everyone.

“Outdated risk assessment models have had disparate, negative impacts on Black and Latino communities across the nation, which make up an enormous portion of untapped homebuying demand,” Chandler said.

“To better serve these communities, the mortgage industry must adopt more inclusive lending models. FormFree understands this and we are committed to reshaping lenders’ historically narrow view of the credit box. We must start empowering consumers with their own data — cash flow and residual income information — to make better-informed decisions while allowing them to tap into the home buying experience.”

FormFree Founder Brent Chandler Is On A Mission To Help Others 

Brent Chandler founded FormFree in 2007 and aims to democratize lending for all people without bias. He also wants to see lenders incentivized to provide loans without excessively high-interest rates – particularly for individuals in lower-income brackets or without traditional credit histories.

A widely recognized mortgage lending and financial services innovator, Chandler, a graduate of Southern Illinois University, spent over two decades at the cutting edge of trading, personal finance, wealth management, and consumer finance.

A former United States Marine, he also held senior-level positions on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch and Fidelity before launching FormFree to make loans simpler and safer for everyone. His frustrating homebuying experience motivated him to build FormFree based on financial inclusivity.

“Biases have plagued our industry for some time now,” Chandler explains. “At FormFree, we’re leading the charge to provide access to data and apply intelligence to reach those systematically left behind due to socioeconomic status, race, gender, or background. We’re committed to empowering underbanked communities and making credit accessible. We are serving the underserved.”

FormFree’s dedication, he says, extends beyond empowering consumers to challenge conventional lending practices. It also includes a strong commitment to transparency and accountability.

FormFree advocates for fair lending policies, incentivizing lenders to offer competitive rates. This commitment, coupled with a focus on financial literacy, reassures the audience that FormFree is working to bridge the wealth gap for low-to-middle-income families.

How FormFree Empowers Consumers 

FormFree is revolutionizing the home lending industry with its groundbreaking app, Passport Wallet. This innovative tool empowers consumers like never before, allowing them to understand their financial capacity and share it with lenders seamlessly.

Using FormFree’s Passport Wallet app, consumers can verify all the core financial data required by loan underwriters — including identity, assets, income, employment credit history, and cash-flow data — in seconds.

FormFree’s products are designed to break down barriers in the home lending industry. These tools empower individuals who might face discrimination or have limited credit history to access loans just like everyone else.

By allowing users to keep their data anonymous, these tools prevent unfair treatment and ensure that lenders see the person behind the score, promoting a sense of inclusivity and fairness.

This lending revolution by FormFree means borrowers can get loans for their dream homes without biases getting in the way.

Once consumers are ready to transact, they can anonymously share their verified data on the FormFree Exchange (FFX) and receive offers from a marketplace of lenders who fully understand their Ability to Pay (ATP), residual income and eligibility for down payment assistance and inclusive lending programs.

FormFree’s RIKI Sees The Human Behind The Credit Score

FormFree’s RIKI (Risk Indicator Knowledge Index) is a powerful method that levels the playing field for loan applicants. By considering various aspects of an individual’s financial management, such as income, expenses, and payment history, RIKI generates a comprehensive analysis, providing lenders with a holistic view of the applicant’s financial health.

RIKI helps lenders understand if someone can repay a loan, even if they don’t have a long credit history or have been mistreated by traditional credit agencies. With RIKI, people have more control over their financial information, and lenders can make fairer decisions about who gets loans. It’s a way to make borrowing money more accessible and transparent.

“At FormFree, we’re committed to analyzing what works and what doesn’t and giving the power back to people,” Chandler said. “We stand strong on evolutionary tech and believe in empowering consumers by providing them access to their financial data, including cash flow and residual income information. This enables individuals to make better-informed decisions about borrowing money. Additionally, it’s crucial to make financial literacy resources widely available so that people can learn about personal finance, budgeting, and smart savings strategies before taking on debt.”

Chandler says laws must prioritize fairness and equality in lending practices, prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, or socioeconomic background.

“It’s time to remove barriers that prevent individuals with non-traditional credit histories, like rental payments, from building wealth through homeownership,” he emphasized.

“We need safeguards to protect borrowers from predatory lending practices, such as excessive interest rates or hidden fees.”

FormFree Serves the Underserved 

According to recent reports from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other sources, minorities, mainly Black and Hispanic individuals, still face higher rates of mortgage denial compared to their white counterparts.

Recent data highlights stark disparities within the credit system, with alarming figures revealing that 64% of Black Americans have a credit score of 619 or lower. In contrast, 19 million Hispanic Americans score 659 or lower.

Traditional credit bureaus fail to score about 66 million Americans, leaving a significant portion of the population underserved by conventional lending practices. This includes individuals with thin or stale credit files, who often face barriers to accessing credit or are forced to resort to high-cost loans that do not help build their credit history​ (Consumer Finance Gov)​​ (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)​.

FormFree serves the underserved by providing lenders with access to a broader range of data points beyond traditional credit metrics.

This includes factors such as rental payment history, utility bill payments, and bank account information, which can offer a more comprehensive and accurate picture of an individual’s creditworthiness.

By incorporating these alternative data sources, FormFree enables lenders to make more informed lending decisions, reducing the reliance on traditional credit scores that may disproportionately penalize people from underserved communities.

Additionally, FormFree’s solutions prioritize transparency and consumer empowerment.

Through apps and tools like Passport Wallet and RIKI, consumers can access and share their financial data securely and conveniently, giving them greater control at the beginning of the lending process. This empowerment is particularly beneficial for individuals with limited credit history or those who may have been underserved by traditional credit bureaus.

Democratizing Mortgage Access with FormFree

FormFree actively advocates for fair lending practices and works to eliminate bias and discrimination in the mortgage lending industry. By promoting transparency, accountability, and inclusivity, FormFree strives to create a more level playing field for all borrowers, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status.

Chandler highlights the significance of rental payments as a significant milestone often overlooked in credit assessment. At FormFree, rental history is carefully considered alongside other factors to demonstrate residual and discretionary income, providing solid evidence of a consumer’s ability to comfortably afford a loan.

“For instance,” Chandler elaborated, “a person may have a 110 RIKI, indicating consistent savings month-to-month, correlating to a 750 credit score. However, their actual credit score may be 680. Unfortunately, this individual may be denied entry solely based on a 750 or higher score requirement. This is why we aim to introduce alternative risk indicators.”

For Chandler, the home lending revolution is personal. When he founded FormFree, he encountered skepticism about digitizing paperwork for mortgage applications. “I asked if I could submit all my paperwork digitally. They said to fax it,” Chandler explained. “So, I decided to create a better solution. That’s how FormFree was born.”

This commitment to innovation and inclusivity drives FormFree’s mission to revolutionize the mortgage lending industry and empower all consumers, regardless of background or socioeconomic status.

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