Categories Earnings Call Transcripts, Finance

Lendingtree Inc (TREE) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

Lendingtree Inc Earnings Call - Final Transcript

Lendingtree Inc (NASDAQ:TREE) Q4 2022 Earnings Call dated Feb. 27, 2023.

Corporate Participants:

Andrew Wessel — Vice President, Investor Relations

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

Scott Peyree — President, LendingTree Insurance

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

Youssef Squali H. — Truist Securities — Analyst

Jed Kelly — Oppenheimer & Co. — Analyst

Cristopher Kennedy — William Blair — Analyst

Ryan Tomasello — KBW — Analyst

John Campbell — Stephens — Analyst

Robert Wildhack — Autonomous Research — Analyst

Melissa Wedel — JPMorgan — Analyst

Michael Grondahl — Northland Capital Markets — Analyst

Jamie Friedman — Susquehanna International Group — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Good day and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the LendingTree Fourth Quarter 2022 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speakers’ presentation, there will a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]. Please be advised that today’s conference is being recorded.

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Andrew Wessel, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Andrew Wessel — Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you Michelle, and good morning to everyone joining us on the call this morning to discuss LendingTree’s fourth quarter 2022 financial results. On the call today are Doug Lebda, LendingTree’s Chairman and CEO; J.D. Moriarty, President of Marketplace and COO; Trent Ziegler, CFO; and Scott Peyree, President of Insurance.

As a reminder to everyone, we posted a detailed letter to shareholders on our Investor Relations website earlier today. And for the purposes of today’s call, we will assume that listeners have read that letter and will focus on Q&A.

Before I hand the call over to Doug for his remarks, I remind everyone that during today’s call, we may discuss LendingTree’s expectations for future performance. Any forward-looking statements that we make are subject to risks and uncertainties and LendingTree’s actual results could differ materially from the views expressed today. Many but not all of the risks we face are described in our periodic reports filed with the SEC. We will also discuss a variety of non-GAAP measures on the call today, and I refer you to today’s press release and shareholder letter, both available on our website for the comparable GAAP definitions and full reconciliations of non-GAAP measures to GAAP.

And with that, Doug, please go ahead.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Thank you, Andrew, and thank you all for joining us today. We are excited to provide earnings results this morning but first, I wanted to call attention to our launch of the LendingTree Win Card, our first product introduction in the reimagining of the MyLendingTree offering that was announced this morning. We believe the Win Card offered exclusively to MyLendingTree members will improve user engagement as the 2% cashback feature is only unlocked when cardholders login to the LendingTree account and because the Win Card is among the first cards to be integrated with our TreeQual product, we’re expecting approval rates to be substantially higher, which will also improve our unit economics and customer satisfaction.

We have many new features and products like this planned for introduction as we move through 2023 and beyond. The focus of all of this work is to combine our market leading partner network with the best-in-class customer experience. We believe the innovative products such as the Win Card, in addition to planned enhancements we are hard at work on, will make MyLendingTree the leading destination for our customers to shop for all of their product needs.

Moving on to our results. In the fourth quarter, our insurance division posted excellent results. This can be attributed to initiatives Scott and our insurance team put in place to focus on higher intent customer traffic to help our insurance partners to improve conversion rates. Because of this, we were able to capture increased budgets from insurance carriers and at the same time reducing marketing costs. The team did a tremendous job executing on all of these projects, which led to margin improvements by a full 6 points from the third quarter. When carriers spend returns to normalized levels, we expect these initiatives will be rewarded with increased market share.

Our Home segment, not surprisingly, faces a very challenging part of the interest rate cycle. The Fed’s commitment to higher rates due to inflation will continue to have a negative impact on new mortgage loan demand. Additionally, lenders are seeing lower conversion rates because there is less benefit to refinancing as interest rates rise. A close integration with our largest partners helped us to quickly pivot to sourcing cash out borrowers were looking to tap the substantial amount of equity they enjoy as homeowners today. This year, we expect cash-out transaction will remain the bulk of our revenue opportunity in Home. However, our key growth initiatives within the segment is to gain share in the purchase market by improving close rates for our partners. To the extent we see a pickup in purchase application rates as we move through the year, we believe this project will have a positive impact on our financial results.

In our consumer segment, we saw throughout the second half of 2022, lenders tighten underwriting criteria due to higher interest rates and the slowing effect they have on our economy. A stricter credit environment generally leads to lower close rates for our lenders, which reduces our revenue. Despite the decline in fourth quarter consumer revenue, we are able to grow segment profit by relentlessly focusing on unit economics. Our growth initiatives in consumer include completing technology enhancements for our credit card business, which we believe will help to improve financial results going forward. In small business, we are also implementing technology solutions to automate the capture of applicant financial data, which will help better segment our traffic for our lending partners to also increase close rates. Additionally, we remain intensely focused on operating expenses. We recognize it as a key financial metrics that is entirely within our control. The variable marketing model this company is built around is designed to avoid outspending the revenue opportunity available. And similarly, it is our job to properly manage our fixed costs based on our outlook for future revenue. We will invest in projects, when we see an attractive risk-adjusted return. We’re doing that currently to support the improved customer experience and our other key growth initiatives. However, we will also move quickly to decrease funding for parts of our business that are unable to meet return targets, evidenced by our exit from the reverse mortgage segment, in the first and the fourth quarter. This commitment to financial discipline will remain a key tenant of our day-to-day activities as a leadership team.

And now, operator I’d be happy to open the call for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Youssef Squali with Truist. Your line is now open.

Youssef Squali H. — Truist Securities — Analyst

Great. Thank you very much and good morning all. So couple of questions from me. One on credit card, Doug. Can you maybe talk about what you’re seeing there? It seems like you may be losing a little bit of share there, yet you just talked about plenty of initiatives to kind of reverse that maybe, can you speak to exactly what you’re doing there to help re-accelerate that business in 2023?

And then on this obligatory question about large language models like ChatGPT and potential impacts on the business? So maybe can you at a high-level talk about how you’re expecting that to impact both the search financial products, etc suite demand side, but also on the content creation side which could actually be a nice or potentially a good —

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

AI ChatGPT?

Youssef Squali H. — Truist Securities — Analyst

Yeah. Thank you.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Sure. So I got a card and I got first ChatGPT, right? If I got that correct? So on card, and I’ll let J.D chime-in here, I will hit the high level — high notes. With every credit card marketplace on the Internet, you typically have what we refer to as a click-out model. What we’re trying to do there with both TreeQual and the Win Card is to have access to the real underwriting criteria of lenders so that we can improve close rates.

On AI and ChatGPT, we are using more machine learning and AI right now although it’s something that we would potentially want to look at. One of the key initiatives that we have is, I talked a lot about close rates and if you dig into mortgage which is a long-cycle product, we need to improve our communication with consumers post submit while lenders are making phone calls and we have a lot of things on the docket to address that. But I would say AI is not one of them yet, but as it develops, I could certainly see that helping us improve our communications with consumers, but we’re not there yet.

J.D.?

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

Youssef, let me focus on the first credit card question which is really with regards to our credit card marketplace. We have a tech platform migration going on right now. Internally we call that to the Lightspeed platform that will make our page loads be faster. It will make partners interacting with us easier. It will make compliance which is a very important thing in the credit card world way more efficient and so benefit for us and for all of our partners. So we’re excited that work is going on in Q1, we are on-schedule with it, and it will probably finish sometime in Q2. Now that’s not the only solution to the credit card business for us, and we talked about this in the past. We are way too dependent on paid search and so we need to grow other marketing channels. So we’ve got actually very good, we’re very happy thus far with the progress in both CRM for credit card and specifically for SEO for credit card. Those are two focus areas for us in terms of expanding marketing. Why is that important? Because all of our partners in credit card need us to get to certain volume targets and if we hit those volume targets, we get paid more. And it becomes prohibitively expensive to do that if you are very dependent on one channel. So that’s what we’re doing in card.

The other very important part of becoming more integrated with our partners and delivering them more volume is TreeQual. And so we continued to add partners there. It has been admittedly slower than we projected at the beginning of last year, but we think we are on the right track with the solution because ultimately that is driving conversion rates, right? In a typical click-out experience, we redirect the consumer from our side to that as a partner and it will get approved, let’s call it low-teens percentage rates. When we’re talking about something that is pre-approved, it is converting at an 80% approval rate, right? That’s the definition of higher conversion, that is what we’re focused on with TreeQual. And there are different pads for TreeQual with every partners, partners what we found, what we’ve learned over the last years partners who want to work with us in different ways, all of which we view to be an improvement over the current status quo. And so card, if you look at each of our big businesses, it is the one that needs the most work in terms of what I’ll call the structural margin profile as we fix that we think we’ll be able to take market share but take market share in a way that does not hinder our financial performance.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

And the only thing I’d add to what J.D. said is on the SEO front as you move from the primary domain name for SEO being compare cards and we move that content over to LendingTree. We expect that you have to take a dip first on your SEO traffic and then, as that builds up, we think the LendingTree domain will yield much better performance in SEO overtime.

Youssef Squali H. — Truist Securities — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]. Our next question comes from Jed Kelly with Oppenheimer. Your line is now open.

Jed Kelly — Oppenheimer & Co. — Analyst

Hey, great. Thanks. Thanks for taking my questions. Going to insurance, I think at the end of your shareholder letter, you sort of gave an outlook for insurance, sort of that, that you’re waiting for the carriers to sort of come back. Judging by how some of your competitors have reported, it seems like carriers kind of spending into sort of accelerating. So can you just talk about the arc of the recover we should be expecting? And then can you just help us around the unit economics with Win Card? Thank you.

Scott Peyree — President, LendingTree Insurance

Yeah. Hi, this is Scott. I’ll start on insurance first and then throw it back to the rest of the team for the Win Card. But yeah, on the recovery of insurance, what I would call it and what I’ve been calling it is we’re in the very early innings of the recovery. Literally, like the first inning of the recovery, it is happening. Revenue is going up, there’s one large carrier in particular is spending more aggressively than the rest in general, a lot of the rest of the carriers are still proceeding with caution at this point, but the conversations are more and more optimistic. There is more conversations, there’s discussions of when and how the spender is going to go up. There’s testing in certain states with the carriers, but we’re seeing pretty good growth in our auto insurance segment quarter-over-quarter going from Q4 to Q1. And as we’ve been talking about, we’ve been focused on the unit economics in the V&D of our insurance business, instead of trying to over-deliver on budget which should [Technical Issues] asking for, we’re focusing on the quality of traffic, we’re settling in clients in the profitability of that traffic. And I think we’re doing a very good job of that. Because the carriers in general, even the carrier that’s gotten a lot more aggressive. At some level, there is still conservative and concerned about profitable, very concerned about profitability and it’s not just like pedal to the metal. So I do expect the recovery to continue, it’s going to probably take nine to 18 months in total for like the entire industry. These fully back at full board, but it is happening. Yes.

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Hey Jed, this is Trent. I’ll hit on it on economics on the win card. I guess what I’d say is, the way that that’s going to work, obviously, we disclosed that we are doing that in partnership with Upgrade, one of our partners. They will be managing all the balance sheet, risk and credit scoring, et cetera. We will get a substantial bounty for every car that we originate through our platform, as well as an ongoing share of the interchange. But I guess as it relates to the financial impact of that, we obviously think it’s positive, and it will be a contributor this year but that is more than anything else as much about — it is the first of many features that we think are differentiated, and will help us continue to evolve the value prop for MyLendingTree, and for our members and continue to drive engagement as we move forward. So expect more of these things, as we progress throughout the year and I would argue that piece of it is as important, if not more important than the financial impact that we expect to see near-term.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Yeah. I mean only thing I would add to that is, if you think about a normal credit card bounty in the industry, but then you can apply a higher-conversion rates to it, your unit economics should be higher. We believe we can actually market those as a separate standalone proposition. And again as part of the MyLendingTree, as part of being part of MyLendingTree, the 2% cashback which I referred to is unlocked when you are logging into MyLendingTree once a month, where are you going to be seeing actions [Technical Issues] your financial life. And we think that will really help MyLendingTree in total.

Jed Kelly — Oppenheimer & Co. — Analyst

Thanks. And just on a follow-up to Scott’s comments about higher traffic. Insurance segment did I think 38% VMM margin. I mean is that the right way to look at the business in ’23 that you’re going to have VMM margins above mid-30s?

Scott Peyree — President, LendingTree Insurance

Yeah. I would say as we look at ’23, we would like to keep those margins in the mid to high-30s. When the entire industry starts getting more aggressive, and I’m talking about from a carrier standpoint, what everyone is talking and playing the news, you may start going a little higher fruit on the tree where you’re trying to get for revenue that is at lower margins. But honestly, a lot of scenarios right now that revenue isn’t always the highest quality traffic, and you have to run at a lower margins than the carriers in today’s market, aren’t really begging for it. So we’re not trying to force it down the throats so to speak, so mid to high 30s for like if you get into serious like top end revenue growth or mode like for all the carriers, so getting really aggressive that might change, but I don’t foresee that in the next six to nine months.

Jed Kelly — Oppenheimer & Co. — Analyst

Thanks.

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

Jed, based on Scott’s commentary, I’d say implied in our full year guide is pretty modest revenue growth based on what we’re seeing today, sort of in the mid-single digit percent range, but we do assume that those margins hold in kind of mid to high 30s. Obviously that can evolve as the market evolves throughout the year, but that’s our baseline expectation.

Jed Kelly — Oppenheimer & Co. — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]. Our next question comes from Cris Kennedy with William Blair. Your line is now open.

Cristopher Kennedy — William Blair — Analyst

Good morning and thank you for taking the questions. Can you give us an update on your advertising initiatives that you started last year? And kind of what your plans are going forward?

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Sure. So the advertising we ran last year worked extremely well, it elevated our brand again to in the right direction across all of our metrics. One of the things that we’re moving, we’re doing in this quarter is implementing something we call multi-touch attribution, which uses data to allocate your marketing returns over the channels that you run. So right now, we’re not looking at any significant brand investment because of the unit economics, and where they are, it wouldn’t make sense. However, with the Win Card, we do have Molly Shannon doing some fantastic videos that we can do and put on YouTube and other sites. So we expect to use more of that and we can do that much more inexpensively than running big brand on TV. And that will happen as the unit economics get better and demand returns. But I’m guessing that’s going to be when interest rates start to fall a little bit.

Cristopher Kennedy — William Blair — Analyst

Okay, very helpful. And then just an update on your capital allocation priorities for this year? And thanks for taking the questions.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Sure. So on capital allocation, so one thing that we’re doing, First off, I don’t see us doing any acquisitions. Trent can talk more about just other things. We are very, very focused on EBITDA, cash flow generation, maintaining costs and then investing, one of the things that we’ve done as we’ve moved to a quarterly planning cycle where every three months we are prioritizing initiatives based on where we expect the returns to be and we’re willing to make pivots inside of the quarter. And right now, we’re working, as I said earlier on improving conversion rates really across all of our products, in all of our key initiatives whether it’d be TreeQual, we’re going to post mortgage experience, purchase initiative, the Win Card those are all aimed at improving conversion rates, which improves customer satisfaction and gives us oriented economic market against.

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I’d just add on to that. As it relates to the balance sheet, and our primary focus is on de-levering. Obviously all the things, Doug just hit on are focused on driving near-term cash flows and that is obviously an important part of it, but we are looking at sort of opportunistic ways to retire some of the debt on the balance sheet.

Cristopher Kennedy — William Blair — Analyst

Understood. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from Ryan Tomasello with KBW. Your line is open.

Ryan Tomasello — KBW — Analyst

Hi, everyone. Thanks for taking the questions. In the mortgage business, I think investors are trying to understand where trough performance checks out for the core purchase and refi products. So maybe you could discuss at a high level, how you’re thinking about the glide path for that business? What type of environment we would need to see for it to stabilize and recover from here? And if that’s solely dependent on rates moving lower, despite refi or if you think the business has a line of sight to thrive in an environment where refi remained structurally depressed.

And on the home equity side, given how much more significant that business has become, it would be helpful to understand how sustainable you think that performances and perhaps how much more runway there could be for growth? Thanks.

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

Hey, Ryan, it’s J.D. Thanks for the question, it’s a good one. Obviously when we think about the year ahead, we want to be able to manage the business without making a huge projection on where the market will go, the point being we obviously had been through an awful lot, in terms of rate increases and our partners are going through a lot. So one of the things that we track is the behavior of our partners and we watch loan officer count at each of our partners, because there is a ton of capacity loan officer capacity that was added in 2020 and 2021. And in the consumer direct channel, which is the majority of our partners, right, as opposed to retail, they tend to focus on refinance in the environment like what we went through in ’22 and we continued to go through is really challenging in terms of getting the conversion rates that they need. And fundamentally, as you know from all the MBA that many Americans who would benefit from a refinance right now. So our assumptions are that refinance or all of ’23 is de minimis. And that is why we are so focused on driving purchase. So how are we going to drive purchase? One of the things we’ve observed is that starting around the second quarter of 2020, our market share in purchase started to drop off. And it started to drop off largely because of the behavior of our partners, right? They were focused on refinance because it converted and that was where they could make money and so critically, we looked at ourselves last year and said okay, we’ve got to regain share in purchase that’s hard to do because purchase has a longer journey when the consumer comes to our site to when they actually convert. One of the things we’re trying to do is get better information as to where that consumer is in their process, right? If they are late in the funnel closer to buying a home closing on a home, we want to know that and share that information with our partners that will make them convert better. So fundamentally that is our strategy and why we’re so focused on purchase because we’re assuming that refi does not come back anytime soon.

We’ve been thrilled with the performance of Home Equity. Two years ago, I don’t think anybody in our company thought that the Home Equity product could reach the scale that it has reached and what we’re encouraged by is that many of our lender partners are adding that product and so we’re getting to real Home Equity, right? Historically, we talked about the fact that we had lenders who would buy volume from us or consumers interested in Home Equity and trying to convince them to do a cash out refinance. That still goes on, it’s just a lesser percentage than it used to be, right? And so the health of the Home Equity product is quite good. We’re really happy with the progress that we’ve made there as a replacement. We obviously would love to see an environment where we’re not so dependent on it. Now one thing we obviously focus on with Home Equity is, it is they are smaller loan sizes than typical purchase or refi and so are the unit economics there. That’s one of things we’ve been watching closely.

The flip side of that is many of our lenders were recently having dialog with lenders who think they can close more quickly on Home Equity since automation is helping the growth in that market, which is great. So as you think about our guide, we’ve been very conservative with respect to refi. We do think there is just some pure market share and purchase, purchase is always weak in the beginning of the year. And it will start to lift in March and April, we want to be prepared the purchase season and then we’ve assumed that we can hold the performance of Home Equity and we’re just trying to navigate this Home segment right now. I will say I had a lender say to me in early to mid-January, they said, last week was our best weekend and we were thrilled but obviously we’ve seen rates jump even since then and we have to kind of navigate this cycle with our partners. So when you see a little bit of a give-back in rates, we’re encouraged not because all of a sudden there is some huge pool of refinance, but we know that it does help our lenders with respect to lender health. And that’s I think we’re going to be in for that for the remainder of ’23 and our guide on Home — yeah, we’re very conservative there. We think that it’s going to be entirely mostly Home Equity throughout the year.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

The only thing I’d add to what J.D said, just put a finer point a couple of things. So just think about consumer behavior, you are coming in looking to refinance your entire $400,000 house. You’ve got a mortgage rate from four years ago, that’s where the consumer benefit doesn’t make sense to refinance but your home value has gone up. So a second mortgage makes a lot of sense. And then you flip to the lender side. The last time we had home equity growth like this was literally like 2001 to 2009 until the housing market at a major correction as we all know. And it wasn’t until losses from lenders now fit in the second mortgage business until they pulled back and now what we’re seeing is a resurgence of that as J.D. said, some of our consumer direct lenders are getting back into that business, it can be highly automated, often times those require complete appraisal. So that gets re-automated. We expect that to help us out as refinancing their entire mortgage picks up.

Ryan Tomasello — KBW — Analyst

Thanks. Appreciate all that color. And then second one from me on the expense side, can you put a finer point around the additional levers you have to pull from here pending how performance trends throughout ’23? Perhaps you could quantify a range of the additional cost that you think you could theoretically remove from the system, and also what type of environment, we would need to see in order for those plans to start to be more seriously considered? Thanks.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Yeah, I’ll start and then I’ll let Trent put some details around it. I doubt we’re going to give you a range, but I could tell you that we’re continually looking at things as we move to a more project-oriented company with our quarterly cycles, I talked about, you are investing on a variable basis on a few things that you think are going to move the needle and then everything else is fixed and we’re taking a continuous and a very hard look at that. Trent?

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I just sort of continuing to what Doug said, right, look we’ve obviously taken some actions throughout the last 12 months in the form of workforce reductions and otherwise. Really when you get past advertising, which obviously will continue to look at and optimize the advertising on as well. But beneath that, and the vast majority of our fixed expenses are people, and our technology stack, right? And so some of those things are easier to move the needle on than others, but as Doug said, we sort of look at the body of work that we have going on, and sort of the best that we’re placing and the discrete initiatives and we have to continued to kind of raise the hurdle rate as to what we funded what we choose to invest in. And so relative to the commentary in the shareholder letter, should unit economics and some of our core businesses continue to get tougher, we’ve got to raise that hurdle rate and draw a bit of a harder line as to what we’re choosing to invest them. And so that’s the approach that we’re taking.

Andrew Wessel — Vice President, Investor Relations

Michelle, can you get the next question please?

Operator

[Operator Instructions]. Our next question comes from John Campbell with Stephens. Your line is now open.

John Campbell — Stephens — Analyst

Hey guys, good morning.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Hey John,

John Campbell — Stephens — Analyst

Hey, within consumer, I mean, if we back out personal loans, credit cards and small business. I think that imply consumer other, as it was up pretty sharp I think 28% year-over-year, that’s now about a fourth of the mix. So curious about what drove the strength there? And how you’re thinking about that other business within consumer for the rest of the year?

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Sorry, John. Consumer, ex personal loans and what else, I’m sorry.

John Campbell — Stephens — Analyst

Ex-personal loans, credit cards and SMBs. Just ones, the larger business that you guys typically call out. I mean if I look at that kind of imply bucket of other that’s about a 28% growth rate. So really good results there. Just curious what drove that strength?

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Yeah. So we’ve seen kind of under the hood growth in two areas. One, unsurprisingly would be our deposit business, right? As interest rates continued to rise, there’s more interest in shopping around yields on checking, savings and CD rates. So the relative scale of that is not huge but that continues to be an area from a macro standpoint that we continued to see opportunity. The other area is in our credit services business, right, so we have both credit repair and debt relief where folks come to us and express interest in a personal loan or in another product, perhaps don’t meet the criteria for those loans. We offer subsequent solutions to them in the form of credit repair and debt relief based on their needs. And that’s been an area that has grown a little bit throughout the last year.

John Campbell — Stephens — Analyst

Okay, that’s helpful. And then from a strategic standpoint, I guess also from a modeling standpoint, I saw you guys mentioned you’re discontinuing the reverse mortgage business. I guess first, why now? And then secondly, how much revenue did that contribute in 2022 and any kind of discussion on segment margin or VMM impact?

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. John, that business was one that we stood up several years ago and the opportunity there has been declining over the last several years, the regulatory environment where there is not particularly supportive of and to give you some sense that was a business that was doing some $5 million in revenue for the last several years. So it’s really not a needle mover. When you think about strategically sort of where we are in the business where we’re really trying to simplify the business, in many respects and focusing on the core value drivers and that’s one that relative to my comment earlier about raising the hurdle rate didn’t quite meet it, right. And so it’s just the business where we can streamline focus and resources into bigger priorities.

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

John, I would just add that I think as Trent said financially, it’s not a needle mover, but what we’re doing is looking at all of our businesses and saying, okay, what’s the natural margin in this business? What’s the opportunity in the business relative to the partner set? And then, what does it do in terms of burden on our fixed cost or impact on our fixed costs, right? So when we talk about our cost structure, these things are closely aligned, right. We’re trying to make sure that we’re in the right segments where we’re getting maximum leverage off of our fixed costs. And if there is a hidden cost aspect, right, associated with being in a business that’s not delivering a big impact, we want to redeploy those fixed costs or cut them, right? And so it’s obviously reverse in of itself, is not a big impact, but it’s indicative of the scrutiny that we’re putting into the whole business.

John Campbell — Stephens — Analyst

Makes sense. Thanks guys.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from Rob Wildhack with Autonomous Research. Your line is now open.

Robert Wildhack — Autonomous Research — Analyst

Good morning, guys. You called out some competitive factors on the credit card side, obviously a lot going on in that space whether it’s TreeQual or competing products, different business models. And now you even have a competitor paying out consumers who don’t get approved. Bigger picture, can you just share how you think about the competitive landscape and positioning there and really the rationality of it all right now?

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Rob, could you repeat the last part of that question? I apologize, it tailed off.

Robert Wildhack — Autonomous Research — Analyst

Sorry. Yeah, just kind of curious how you’re thinking about the competitive landscape in credit card and really the rationality of that with all these different offerings that are out there?

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

Sure. So at the end of the day, we’re trying to — we’re coming at credit card where it is a small business relative to our portfolio of businesses, relative to our competitors — the competitor that you’re mentioning is obviously Credit Karma that’s I believe what you’re referring to, is when they talk about the guarantee where cards are assured. That’s an extension of their Lightbox pre-approval and they’ve just changed the verbiage around it to assure somebody the degree of guarantee that they would actually get the card. Now why are we doing TreeQual? One, for consumers we think it’s a better outcome, right? We don’t like a LendingTree consumer come into our experience clicking out and having effectively 80% plus chance of being denied card, that’s not great for us and it’s fine for our partners because they only pay us on approvals but it’s not great for customer experience. So TreeQual started from that perspective.

Now ultimately though for our partners who want to deal with Credit Karma, NerdWallet, ourselves and others, we need to get volume, right? There is no point in working with us, if they can’t get volume from us. So we are from a marketplace perspective embarking on a strategy to increase the volume we can get them at a reasonable price. And so we just need to diversify the marketing channels to do that. TreeQual is going to rely on our MyLendingTree base, right, largely and then there are opportunities to use TreeQual in our existing experiences that we’re actually quite excited about. So for instance, a consumer could be coming in and looking for a given product, let’s say, they’re looking for a personal loan, but the size of the loan they’re looking for doesn’t really make sense for personal loan and we can show them a card that they are pre-approved for. That we think would be a good experience for the consumer and it’s another opportunity to drive volume and we need to get better there.

Now, core to your question is the competition in the card space. Interestingly we’re coming into this where it’s a very small part of our overall business. So any incrementality is improvement, right? That is a business that is in the from a margin perspective. For us, it operates in the team. So if we can take market share, and even just hold our current margin profile, which obviously we want to improve over-time, we can see great gains in credit card that are meaningful for us, perhaps less meaningful for some of our competitors who started some card. So that’s our strategy. Now, when we talk about the competition, we probably talk about that competition more than others because we feel it more than others because we’re so dependent on search. As we diversify our marketing mix for the card business, it won’t be quite as profound, right, but that’s where we are today and we’ve been very candid about that we need to improve that. So there are a number of aspects to it. There is a tech aspect, that’s the Lightspeed migration, there is a marketing aspect, that’s developing the other channels and then there is a new product aspect, and that is TreeQual, that’s the strategy.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

And the only thing I’d add to that, if you — first-off we relate to the credit card business and the reason was, because we didn’t like the approval rate dynamics that J.D. just talked about. However, we did enter that with an acquisition, and we’re in it now and now we’re just continuing to make it better. So when I think of the competitive environment, we’ve got one competitor that’s better than us and card SEO and another one that is better than us in approval rates because of Lightbox. Our response to that is TreeQual, the Win Card, the Lightspeed, tech work that J.D. talked about and SEO on LendingTree. And the nice thing is, with our competitors being public, we get to see the target of where we went ahead and we’re very focused on.

Robert Wildhack — Autonomous Research — Analyst

Thanks. That’s really helpful. Just a quick one, I think we have some at least qualitative commentary on Insurance and Home as it relates to ’23. Can you just close the loop and share where you’re thinking growth in consumer and the margin there for 2023? Thanks.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Yeah. I mean our baseline expectation as we kind of outlined in the letter from a revenue standpoint, again sort of mid-single digits from a revenue growth standpoint, and then we assume pretty consistent margin relative to what we saw last year.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from Melissa Wedel with JPMorgan. Your line is now open.

Melissa Wedel — JPMorgan — Analyst

Good morning. Thanks for taking my questions today. A lot of them have already been asked, but I thought it would be worth touching on or following up on the consumer margin. Definitely saw that nice pop in 4Q. Your shareholder letter also referenced some organic growth from MyLendingTree there. So as we think about margin into ’23, should we be thinking sort of mid-40s or sort of a normalized run rate or are you looking at 4Q given the current mix across products something that’s a more sustainable run rate?

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. I’d say Melissa, sort of mid to high 40s and if you unpack the moving pieces within that, right, you’ve got the personal loan business is the business that’s incredibly high margin for us. The current environment with everything going on in the macro, sort of rates moving higher and the health of the lenders in that space, just the orientation of the lenders in that space, such that they are sort of protecting their current portfolios as opposed to interested in massive origination growth. The unit economics in personal loans are, they’re harder, right? And so we have to be conscious of the impact of that on the margin profile and obviously that’s a big driver of the segment. That said, there are other areas where we’re seeing really good margins, all the work that we just talked about around the credit card business are clearly intended to improve the margins of that business, the margins there are not great today, but we’re doing a lot of work that we think improves them. Small businesses, the other big driver within consumer that’s incredibly high margin business for us, and we think that is an increasing contributor to the segment as we progress throughout this year. And so to sum it all up, sort of I think we did 44% margins in consumer on the full year last year, we did 48% margins in the fourth quarter, somewhere between those two is our going expectation for ’23.

Melissa Wedel — JPMorgan — Analyst

Okay. That’s really helpful. Thanks, Trent. And then I guess as a follow-up on TreeQual. Are you able to share with us just sort of on an aggregate partner basis, what percentage of partners are now participating in the TreeQual platform? And what portion do you have left to convert?

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

Sure. Melissa, it’s de minimis as a percent of partners. It’s in the single-digit area right now but it’s actually not really how we’re looking at it, we’re looking at it as partners who can offer us broader coverage, right, in terms of the cards that they represent depending on whether that card is intended for super-prime, prime, mid-prime or subprime. And so we want to be able to match-up with partners who have an array of cards. That’s why we’re excited about getting upgrades on to the network as we mentioned in the letter because they’re bringing five cards to us. Obviously over-time, we want to have all of our partners, looking on some form of TreeQual, and what we were excited about in the third and fourth quarter of last year is the momentum in terms of just pipeline of dialog with partners. We’re getting more visibility as to how partners want to work with us. Right now, there is a path for TreeQual that is working with a trusted third-party that many of the card issuers work with today. They work with them on direct mail, and so that is kind of the easiest path and that was why we went down that path. Not all of our partners, however, want to work with us that way. Some of us want to do embedded integrations with us without a third-party involved and so that takes more time to work on from a technology perspective on both sides with us and the partner, but it’s obviously a good outcome when we get there.

So I’d say that the dialog has increased, we’re happy with that upgrade, and we’re happy with existing partners in the results that they are experiencing. Let’s put it this way. The financial impact of TreeQual will manifest itself in credit card, potentially down the road in personal loans. It is not in our ’23 guide in any material way. We look at this is a year of onboarding partners, and we know that we will have a healthier credit card business on the back of it, but what our guide is not dependent on incremental revenue from TreeQual.

Melissa Wedel — JPMorgan — Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]. Our next question comes from Mike Grondahl with Northland Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

Michael Grondahl — Northland Capital Markets — Analyst

Hey, thanks guys. I wanted to dig into the strategy a little bit. I think the Tree branded Win Card is the first time you’ve put your name on a product and you mentioned more products to come. Are you trying to put one of these Tree branded products in each vertical or how should we think about kind of the rollout in some of the new products you said will be coming over the course of the year?

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Yes. So I’ll start and then, I think J.D will follow up as well. So think of MyLendingTree, I talked about this before as bringing the best customer experience to the consumer, and that’s why we launched a branded card there as opposed to having our MyLendingTree members be clicking out to search for cards and not getting approved. We think it’s a great product, we think it’s best-in-class, it’s innovative. I’ve always wanted to do this, but we hadn’t found a set of offerings that we thought would be different in the industry. And now we think we have it. And so the Win Card to be another gateway to bring in MyLendingTree members and it’s also a way for our MyLendingTree members to put a card in their wallet that we think is fantastic, and that you could get approved at very high rate for it. And in MyLendingTree, you could expect us not necessarily to always do a single product offering, but I would say that whatever we do on MyLendingTree, we want it to be the best-in-class products, so the consumers come back to us again and again without us having to be as dependent on paid marketing to continually drive people back into the marketplace.

J.D., anything there?

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

The only thing I would add Mike is, we spent a lot of time last year doing consumer research, on what specific financial jobs consumers would trust us with. And so we’ve got as Doug mentioned, it’s kind of a multi-year approach. We’ve got eight or so products that we would expect to launch over a multi-year period. So you don’t expect eight this year, but effectively the Win Card is the first one and the theme is really the adjacency to why somebody came to LendingTree in the first place and what problem they’re trying to address. So I don’t think it’s specifically going to be a product for every vertical area that we have. We will roll these out really relative to what we think is the most adjacent thing. We don’t want it to become a feature factory, we want it to be things that genuinely add value for the consumer and drive engagement. And I was thinking about it earlier, you think about historically we’ve talked about pushing our consumers in MyLendingTree to connect their accounts. And you could come in and use Plaid to connect your accounts. And there was obviously potential benefit for us in terms of the information that we’re gathering but there wasn’t really anything on the other side for the consumer, right? And if you think about what we’re doing with the Win Card, we’re saying, here these financial behaviors where we know you will be better off on the other side. And if you come and login and show engagement with us, you’ll get your cash back and we know that we’re going to improve your credit score and your access to other financial products over-time.

Our research showed that that would resonate with our consumer base and with the consumers who we want to be in MyLendingTree. So the Win Card is indicative of how we’re trying to position ourselves with consumers which has access to more products over-time because of good sound financial behavior and so you could envision that we’re going to be helping consumers over-time address their debt stack, address which debt they should pay off first, that sort of thing and really be an advocate for the consumer, that’s where we want to be. We talk often internally about being a digital ally for the consumer and the Win Card is a start of that.

Michael Grondahl — Northland Capital Markets — Analyst

Got it. Thanks. And I’m trying to understand, is it kind of a pivot or the beginning of a big new direction for you guys? Legacy was sort of when banks compete, you win and now it’s more of a, hey, you might have a financial need and we’ve got a product to meet that need. I’m just trying to understand that evolution?

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

Yeah. So again, think of the marketplace in MyLendingTree as connected, but also separate. So when you come to LendingTree with banks compete you win, you expect to see choice in comparison shopping, when you upgrade to MyLendingTree, you expect to get instantly improve because we have all of your credit data, we’ve been giving you free credit score, probably for multiple months and a lender integrated with us can do really interesting stuff on the underwriting side that you can’t do in click-out model until TreeQual is fully there. And so MyLendingTree has just given you the best answer and we’ve got a lot of really exciting things coming, and we think the Win Card is broad enough to cover really most of the credit spectrum. The approval rate aspect improved the unit economics and the features of it are targeted to exactly what MyLendingTree is, which is a financial journey and ally to help you improve your financial standing and get you the best offers at the lowest price.

J.D. Moriarty — President of Marketplace and Chief Operating Officer

And Mike just from a marketplace strategy perspective, one of things we talk about it internally is degree of authentication, right? So if you look at our personal loans vertical, our partners and we’re delivering a highly authenticated consumer that is true in mortgage as well. That is true, to an extent in insurance, that is not true in credit card, that is not true in deposits, okay? Those are click-out businesses where we’re not really delivering a lot of information on the consumer. We are more authenticated in small business. We spend a lot of time talking about how much value are we delivering to our partners in terms of the type of information on that consumer where they can make informed lending decisions. So that’s the strategy within marketplace businesses, I should say.

If you think about the strategy that Doug is articulating for MyLendingTree, it’s very consumer centric, right? And historically we have been guilty of really thinking about MyLendingTree is more of a marketing channel. So as part of your question is, is this a pivot? I would say that this is a meaningful change in terms of how we think about MyLendingTree and what you’re seeing is the beginning of the work that’s been going on for the last year in terms of where we want to play on the MyLendingTree side, how we want to help consumers and while Marketplace may have a slightly different strategy that is very oriented towards partners, and what they want to see, you can understand how the two interact, right. At the end of the day TreeQual, it is all about authentication in the marketplace, the Win Card, but it’s also on the consumer side, about giving you an assured outcome as opposed to a potential denial, the Win Card is about that as well, right? And so I actually think the two strategies work hand in hand quite well and that’s actually the best approach that we could take.

Michael Grondahl — Northland Capital Markets — Analyst

Got it. That explanation was really helpful. Thanks guys.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from Jamie Friedman with Susquehanna International Group. Your line is now open.

Jamie Friedman — Susquehanna International Group — Analyst

Hi, good results in a difficult environment. Just wanted to ask if you could possibly, Trent, double click on the assumptions on page eight in the shareholder letter, especially or specifically if you could with regard to the quarterly cadence. I realized we had the first quarter we got the year, but some of these segments have what looks like increasingly easy comps. So since we have to [Indecipherable] our models for this year, any call-outs you could make on the segments by quarter? Thank you.

Trent Ziegler — Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Jamie, totally fair question. Obviously the Q1 guide relative to the full year guide implies some improvement throughout the year, a couple of things going on there. I guess in consumer, many of those businesses have a seasonal curve to them where things generally improve from Q1 to Q2 to Q3 and then slow down a little bit in the fourth quarter, we see that in credit card generally we see that in personal loans for sure. And so that’s driving some of the sequential improvement that’s implied as we progress throughout the year, the other big one is obviously within Home and within mortgage in particular given our increased reliance on purchase within that business, that’s a business that quite clearly, we expect to be better in the spring and summer home buying season than that in the first couple of months of the year.

Operator

I show no further questions at this time. I would now like to turn the conference back to Doug for closing remarks.

Douglas Lebda — Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder

I’ll make this brief. This company right now as I characterized, 2023 is really the year of disciplined at execution, I want to else also everybody to know that we’re confident in our position, we’ve been through this twice before as financial markets have corrected. This is a longer one and the diversification that we have put in place over the last few years has certainly helped bulwark the company in what’s a very, very tough environment. And what I can tell you is this entire company doesn’t like to lose, we love winning. We’re very focused, teams are all working hard, we’re getting stuff done at the lowest cost as fast as possible with new ways of working together and the team, the entire company is highly energized, we’re trying to get people back to the office post COVID and we feel very confident that we can win in a highly competitive market. Our brand is strong, our marketing is working well. We’ve got teams working on the key levers of the business with dedicated projects against them, as we’ve talked about and we look forward to working with you throughout the year and thank you for your support so far and we’re going to go get back to work and do the best we can. Thank you all very, very much.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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