The year was 1996. Gas was just $1.23 a gallon. Hardly anybody had their own cell phone, reality shows didn’t exist and people were just beginning to understand the potential of the Internet.
A young accountant named Doug Lebda wanted to buy his first home. It turned out that finding the perfect townhouse was easy, but finding the perfect mortgage to pay for it wasn’t. Bank-by-bank, offer-by-offer, it was time-consuming, complicated and tedious – even for a financially savvy accountant.
Doug thought consumers could be better served, and he asked himself, "Why not create a way for banks to compete for their customers' business instead of customers having to do all the legwork to find the best deals?"
And thus, a great Internet idea was born. Doug launched LendingTree.com in 1998, putting the power back into the hands of the consumers by giving them a centralized location to receive multiple loan offers by filling out one simple form.
Doug doesn’t own that townhouse anymore, but today Doug has created a team whose core mission is to empower consumers so they don’t have to go through the hassle and uncertainty he went through years ago.
The creation of LendingTree was a win-win solution for borrowers and lenders. "When we launched the site in 1998, we were able to empower consumers with choice, convenience and value," Doug says. "And lenders could target consumers whose needs they were best prepared to meet."
Today many of the nation's largest lending institutions, as well as a wealth of regional and local lenders, have joined the LendingTree.com marketplace. This diverse network allows LendingTree to offer a broad range of lending products, including purchase mortgages, refinance loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards, as well as access to student loans and commercial lending products.
In 2003, LendingTree, LLC caught the eye of media mogul Barry Diller and was acquired by his company IAC/InterActiveCorp that May. As a result, LendingTree, LLC joined a number of great businesses also recognized as leaders in their own industries including Ticketmaster, Ask.com, Home Shopping Network (HSN), and Match.com. Then in 2008, LendingTree spun-off from IAC to join newly established Tree.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE).
From modest roots, LendingTree expanded Doug's original concept and has facilitated billions of dollars in loans for millions of consumers. With Total Brand Awareness of 77 percent nationwide, LendingTree is now a nationally recognized name.