Google backs out of the mortgage business

Google had barely dipped a toe in the mortgage business, but after trouble attracting advertisers - and a collective shrug from customers - the tech giant is apparently calling it quits


By Ryan Smith

Google had barely dipped a toe in the mortgage business, but it appears the tech giant is getting out.

Last November, Google launched Google Compare for mortgages, an online tool that allowed home buyers to find and compare home loans. The product was initially available only in California, and joined other Google Compare products that allowed consumers to find and compare credit cards and various types of insurance. There was talk that Google Compare could have eventually entered the Australian market as well. 

Google didn’t actually fund mortgages, but it did register as a licensed mortgage broker, according to a CNN report. The company had hoped to use its global reach to provide consumers with niche products and financial services, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

But it appears the Compare product line hasn’t been as successful as the search engine titan had hoped. According to the Journal, Google struggled to sell ads on Compare – and the largest lenders and insurers simply declined to come on board. 

In an email acquired by the website Search Engine Land, Google informed its partners that all Compare products – mortgage, insurance and credit card – would begin winding down immediately and shutter for good on March 23. 

“Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for,” the email stated. “We greatly appreciate your partnership and understand that this decision will be disappointing to some. But after a lot of careful consideration, we’ve decided that focusing more intently on AdWords and future innovations will enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment.”

The Compare site was always a risk. According to a Fox Business report, analysts warned at the outset that the product, by allowing consumers to buy mortgages and insurance policies directly, had the potential to anger lenders and insurers who were major advertising clients of Google. 

Google has not yet officially commented on the shutdown.

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