What’s neat about getting vaccinated
For customers of Neat Loans, the digital mortgage lending arm of Neat Capital, getting their COVID series is a no-brainer. Not only are they protected from serious illness caused by the coronavirus, they get a nice little discount on their home mortgage or refinance, too. It’s a $500 closing cost incentive that Neat hopes will help encourage people to roll up their sleeves.
“Mortgage lenders need to have important conversations with their clients about the homebuying process and their vaccine status as it relates to employment,” Luke Johnson, CEO of Neat Capital, explained in a press release. “This is partly due to responsible companies requiring employees be vaccinated to keep workplaces safe, and employment status is critical when trying to fund a home loan.”
As the first (and only, as of the writing of this article) mortgage lender to offer such a discount, Neat is making a bold statement to the real estate industry. But it’s going beyond just offering a discount for the vaccinated (and those with medical or religious exemptions) -- it’s also making sure anyone who darkens its digital doorstep has access to a vaccination if they want one.
The press release announcing the incentive included a potentially more important offer: help getting a vaccine for anyone who has “been unable to do so due to healthcare accessibility, vaccine cost, childcare availability, or transportation costs.” Any borrower who has submitted a loan application after Aug. 13, 2021, and hasn’t been vaccinated is eligible to take advantage of this offer.
(Neat is authorized to conduct business in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington state.)
A neat little drama
Of course, just offering a discount to vaccinated individuals can be the start of some serious noise in this day and age, but Johnson isn’t worried. Despite mortgage loan originators responding to this offer, saying it was out of line and that Neat should “stick to mortgage lending,” and others calling it “disgusting,” “inappropriate,” “discriminatory,” “wrong,” and “un-American,” the CEO of Neat intends to stick to his guns.
“In the financial services community, most companies are afraid of taking an active voice in any community health issue, or any issue of importance because it is politicized and we work in a highly regulated environment,” Johnson said in an interview with HousingWire. “And we tend to say any noise is bad noise, even if it’s good for the community.”
Since the incentive was announced, Neat’s phone has been ringing nonstop, so apparently it’s not such bad noise after all.
The Millionacres bottom line
Look, by now pretty much everyone knows where they stand on the vaccine. When companies like Neat step up to help encourage more people to speed the pandemic’s end along, it’s that much better for everyone. Like it or not, the only way out of this situation is through it.
For investors, the more companies who give incentives and otherwise encourage people to get their shots, the better. The faster the population is protected against COVID-19, and thus at a lesser risk of serious illness, the better. Communities that are protected are communities that are more confident in their futures, especially when it comes to starting new businesses, renting larger homes, or building or buying new structures -- all things that potentially increase the value of real estate and returns on investments.
COVID jabs are good for business. Period.