LendingTree Scores an Exclusive

In a coup of sorts, online loan origination site LendingTree.com signed a deal that makes it the exclusive, integrated loan provider on AutoTrader.com, an auto classifieds marketplace.

Charlotte, N.C.-based LendingTree said that consumers who visit AutoTrader.com to research vehicles and search for cars online will be able to seamlessly access the LendingTree loan application technology at a co-branded page.

Customers who apply for a loan at the Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com site can receive multiple, competitive offers, usually within one business day, LendingTree said. Insurance quotes also are offered. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal “…provides a more seamless channel for our customers to finance their new vehicles,” said Clark Wood, vice president of marketing and national accounts of AutoTrader.com, which sells both new and used vehicles.

AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Manheim Auctions, an operator of wholesale auto auctions since 1945. Manheim Auctions itself is a subsidiary of media conglomerate Cox Enterprises.

LendingTree recently upped its financial guidance for the first quarter of 2003 to a profit of 14 cents per share, from 10 cents. The said it expects net income to come in at $4.1 million for the quarter, well above its prior projection of $2.7 million. Revenue is estimated at least $35 million for the period, topping a previous estimate of $33.2 million.

LendingTree cited strong growth throughout most of its business segments.

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Stack of dollars. Big pile of cash.
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