Consumers will soon be able to borrow trees from LendingTree’s new farmer lender network. LendingTree announced today that it will be adding a new comparison shopping feature to its portfolio of existing marketplace services, dedicated to the consumer borrowing of trees. The product is expected to launch next week, in time for Arbor Day.
A spokesperson for LendingTree, Mike Ouyang, says “We felt this was an underserved market that needed simplification, transparency, and unification. Too often consumers have been unable to borrow a tree due to the lack of convenience in finding the best deal on a tree to borrow temporarily. Consumers become so frustrated with the tree borrowing process that they often either end up buying a tree that they don’t really need, or overpaying for an artificial tree they later regret.” Ouyang continues, “Like how LendingTree has changed the financial services industry by bringing loan products online and making it easy to comparison shop multiple offers side by side, we’re going to do the same for trees and related vegetation products. This is a natural progression of our brand. Plus our name already fits.”
The added network will feature a wide offering of tree products through its farmer lender network including but not limited to maple trees, oak trees, birch, pine and palm trees. Consumers will be able to shop and compare what type of tree they need within a similar experience to LendingTree’s traditional loan marketplace. Customers using the site simply have to select to the type of tree product they are seeking, answer a few simple questions, and then LendingTree will match borrowers with up to five* tree lenders based on their Farmville score and foliage profile.
“LendingTree is an innovative company that has already proven itself in its ability empower borrowers by providing them choice,” states Nicholas Klaus, Owner and Operator of Reindeer Games Farms. “LendingTree has saved many customers time and money over the years, but we are glad LendingTree is finally leveraging its brand name to its full potential. We are excited to partner with them to help the average tree borrower and for our growth as well. LendingTree has the ability to provide tree providers like us the continuous customer flow to address seasonality issues. Through LendingTree, we can lend trees to prospective borrowers for Arbor Day or Christmas in July, then sell or lend those same trees in the winter for the holidays. Customers are happy because they get the tree they need, and we’re happy too because we have increased profitability. LendingTree will completely reshape the Christmas tree market. We can now provide solutions to people year round on a product that normally takes a decade to mature.”
In addition to traditional trees, the new LendingTree marketplace will also allow comparison shopping for microtrees, such as small succulents or a shrubbery. Ken Kobayashi, CEO of Borrow My Bonsai, a microtree provider, says, “Microtree lending is a fast growing sector in foliage services. We see more and more borrowers often needing only a small, one-time tree to help them through a tough foliage situation. Sometimes it’s for a customer who is interested in welcoming a foreign business partner by adding an inviting, cultural aesthetic during a meeting. A meticulously pruned bonsai plant can also show your client how much attention to detail you have, making you a really great potential partner.”
Ken continues, “Other customers of ours include homeowners hosting dinner parties who want to impress neighbors by feigning financial success. Bonsai can really provide that ‘wow’ factor to your home and set a high bar for the Joneses. It’s like, WOW! You own a really expensive potted plant. You must be successful to have such an affluent hobby. There are many reasons one may need a microtree and LendingTree’s new network will provide us a way to help more customers.”
Consumers interested in borrowing tree or tree like products will be able to apply for any amount of trees from one tree to a full woodland area. “As the product advances and we continue to expand the farmer lender network, we expect to increase borrowing limits to a national forest,” states Mike Ouyang. “We’re signing up direct relationships with even more lenders and are further expanding our search inventory.”
As LendingTree integrates the new LendingTree online tree marketplace, expect to see new supporting features to existing products and improved depth of content. LendingTree is expected to eventually release a mobile tree app that parallels their recently updated mortgage app on iOS and Android, which includes new service experience changes. With the mobile app, you’ll be able to compare offers on-the-go without having to speak to a lender at all!
*Not all customers may be matched with up to five tree lenders. Matches and offerings may vary based on immediate market conditions and customer’s ability to qualify for a tree based on their Farmville score and foliage profile.
**No trees will be uprooted and harmed in the tree lending marketplace. Happy April 1st from LendingTree!