Jumping onto the speculation bandwagon, I'll bet that Zillow's new mortgage offering will not include:
-Access to customer name and contact information
-A process that will significantly reduce or prevent "bait-and-switch" scenarios
What I hope, is that Zillow -- in the spirit of Doc Searls' push towards user controlled relationships with vendors -- will enable consumers to share their virtual "mortgage folder". (A concept which Bill Rice has promoted).
Local, Zillow approved lenders will then be able to view the mortgage folders a scenario description submitted by a user and begin a conversation, and potentially earn a relationship and a transaction. Hopefully, this will provide Zillow users a better mortgage shopping experience than, say, walking into one's bank branch, or completing a LendingTree.com application.
Whether or not this is the path Zillow ultimately takes, the idea of a user controlled vendor management in financial services is an emerging trend worth following.
- Wesabe, although it does not allow users to actually propose transactions to vendors, enables at least users to control their financial data and analyize it.
- Mint takes user contributed financial data and proposes appropriate financial products and services that should meet or exceed the existing terms the consumer is getting.
All take a fair to moderate bit of effort by the user. With a user profile/product match process as complex as it is with mortgage financing, perhaps the complexity is still too great to translate meaningfully into a social network in a way that will ultimately improve the quality of customer/mortgage vendor transactions.