MEQUON, Wis. (1/20/09)--Despite a down economy, Mortgagebot LLC and its automated mortgage solution, PowerSite, reported “another record-breaking year,” said Mortgagebot President/CEO Scott Happ. An underlying industry trend is at the heart of the increase in mortgage activity, Happ said. As big subprime players have disappeared, financial institutions--including credit unions--“have risen up to take their place. After years in the background, these steady, trustworthy and careful lenders are back in a big way--and they’re increasingly using online mortgage technology to grow their businesses, reduce their per-loan costs, and handle their increasing volumes without needing to add staff. “Now consumers are returning en masse to their trusted credit union or local bank to meet their mortgage needs. That’s why our clients’ volumes have increased--and why mortgage applications are flowing through our PowerSite platform at a record pace,” Happ added. Mortgagebot closed 2008 with more than 800 clients, including credit unions. About 230 of those were signed in the last two years. The company’s revenue also increased 17%--to more than $28 million for 2008, Happ said. Use of PowerSite, a Web-based solution, increased 38% compared with 2007. “Around Thanksgiving, when interest rates fell to 5.25%, applications began to really surge through our clients’ websites,” Happ said. Mortgagebot also reported that clients Vermont State Employees CU in Montpelier, Vt., received an industry best practices award in November. The credit union deployed PowerSite in 2007. Its mortgage application volume increased five-fold one month last year, said the credit union. Mortgagebot is based in Mequon, Wis.