When E-Loan started up in 1998, its slick-looking website masked a clunky paper-based process. But now it is launching the electronic signing of closing documents in first-quarter 2007, and its back office is all but paperless.This was the story E-Loan senior vice president Pete Bonnikson told attendees in his keynote address Monday morning for the 10th Annual Mortgage Technology Conference in Tempe, Ariz. The key to online lending today, he said, is to give the borrower an instant decision communicated by a live loan consultant who gets the borrower to lock in a rate and submit a credit card for credit and appraisal. Mr. Bonnikson said E-Loan consultants succeed in that goal 25% of the time. He boasted that E-Loan now gets high marks from 95% of Realtors involved in its purchase loans. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company can be found online at http://www.eloan.com.

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