In 1996, 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 founded LendingTree in 1996, and launched it nationally in 1998, which has put 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."
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.
After a few years, LendingTree spun-off from IAC in 2008 to join newly established Tree.com, Inc. which included a portfolio of various financial matchmaking services the company could offer consumers (NASDAQ: TREE).
In 2014, Tree.com rebranded itself back under its LendingTree flagship name with its multi-product loan matching services under the LendingTree brand and its additional search services as:
Today, many of the nation's largest lending institutions, including a wealth of regional and local lenders, and alternative lenders, have joined the LendingTree marketplace. This diverse network allows LendingTree to offer a way for consumers to shop for a variety of financing products, including purchase mortgages, refinance loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, credit cards, as well student loans and commercial lending products.
What is LendingTree?
LendingTree is the nation’s leading online loan marketplace with the industry’s largest network of lenders. Our service provides consumers a way to connect with multiple lenders for a number of financial borrowing needs. From the comfort of their homes, consumers can fill out one simple form and are able to shop, compare, and save on the loans they need. By creating a My LendingTree account, consumers are able to track their credit score – updated monthly with insights into which factors are negatively impacting their score, review all loan and credit card accounts and are even notified when LendingTree identifies a savings opportunity based on real-time loan offer data. And the best part? It’s free.
LendingTree also offers a variety of informational resources and tools for borrowers to help manage their finances and have an informed experience. With our financial calculators, interactive loan coaching tools, monthly newsletters, and lender ratings and reviews, we’re able to empower customers to make the best financial decisions.
How do I use LendingTree?
Fill out one simple online form
Customers interested in a loan complete a simple application online. Feel free to call us along the way at 1-800-813-4620 if you have any questions.
Receive multiple offers
We connect you with multiple lenders who provide several, customized loan offers based on your credit profile. Qualified applicants can receive up to five offers in just minutes. Customers can use LendingTree and evaluate loan options with no impact to their credit score.
Pick the best deal for you
You just pick the loan offer you like best and work with a real, live person to help finalize the details.
How does LendingTree make money?
Lenders pay us for the chance to compete for your business. We pass your profile to up to five lenders who then provide you a customized loan offer based on your request. LendingTree is completely free to use, but of course if you decide to take out a loan you will be responsible for any processing fees, closing costs, or other fees as normally required by the lender.
- Company officially changes name to LendingTree, Inc.
- Tree.com changes its name to LendingTree, Inc. to better reflect both the company’s go-forward strategy and historical roots.
Company officially changes name to LendingTree, Inc.
- LendingTree adds small business loan marketplace
- LendingTree’s marketplace now includes comparison shopping for small business loans from its network of lenders.
LendingTree adds small business loan marketplace
- “Lenny” campaign is launched
- Lenny, the official LendingTree spokespuppet created by the Jim Henson Creature Shop, is introduced.
“Lenny” campaign is launched
- The new My LendingTree is launched
- The new My LendingTree is a free account service which offers free monthly credit scores, insights for personal financial health, and savings alerts.
The new My LendingTree is launched
- Launches all-new LendingTree.com website
- Launches all-new LendingTree.com website experience with personalized guidance, tools, and resources for borrowers.
Launches all-new LendingTree.com website
- Discover acquires Home Loan Center, Inc. which also did business as LendingTree Loans
- LendingTree’s mortgage lending business unit is sold to Discover for $45.9 million, refocusing the company by eliminating loan origination and processing.
Discover acquires Home Loan Center, Inc. which also did business as LendingTree Loans
LendingTree reaches milestone of 30 million customers
- Opens marketing headquarters in Burlingame, CA
- LendingTree opens an additional west coast headquarter in the San Francisco Bay area to establish a center for its game-changing, world class marketing team.
Opens marketing headquarters in Burlingame, CA
- Launches LendingTree Education and LendingTree Home Pros
- LendingTree Education provides comparison of student loan offers and LendingTree Home Pros offers search and connection with local home improvement contractors.
Launches LendingTree Education and LendingTree Home Pros
- Launches LendingTree Autos
- LendingTree Autos allows customers to search and shop for vehicles online, and also the ability to connect buyers with local dealers.
Launches LendingTree Autos
- IAC spins off LendingTree
- InterActiveCorp (IAC) spins off LendingTree which joins newly formed parent company, Tree.com.
IAC spins off LendingTree
LendingTree reaches milestone of 20 million customers
- Company forms LendingTree Loans from HomeLoanCenter.com
- LendingTree acquires HomeLoanCenter.com and creates LendingTree Loans, a loan origination and processing service.
Company forms LendingTree Loans from HomeLoanCenter.com
- Acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp
- On August 8, 2003, the acquisition of LendingTree by USA Interactive (now IAC/InterActiveCorp) was completed for $726M.
Acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp
- “Stanley Johnson” campaign is launched
- “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs!” becomes a widely recognized line from this humorous advertising campaign.
“Stanley Johnson” campaign is launched
- LendingTree successfully IPOs
- On February 15, 2000, LendingTree goes through a successful IPO becoming listed on NASDAQ as TREE.
LendingTree successfully IPOs
- “When Banks Compete, You Win” campaign is launched
- The slogan is used for the very first time and remains a well-known company tagline.
“When Banks Compete, You Win” campaign is launched
- LendingTree.com is launched
- LendingTree launches nationally offering consumers a new way to compare loans.
LendingTree.com is launched
- Headquarters established in Charlotte, NC
- LendingTree headquarters are opened in Charlotte, NC as the company grows from its humble beginnings.
Headquarters established in Charlotte, NC
- Company founded by Doug Lebda
- Doug starts the company after personally struggling with the process of obtaining a mortgage.
Company founded by Doug Lebda