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LendingTree Inc  (NASDAQ:TREE)
Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Nov. 01, 2018, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the LendingTree Incorporated Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Following management's prepared remarks, we will have a question-and-answer session, and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, today's conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Doug Lebda, Chief Executive Officer. Please go ahead.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, operator and good morning to everyone joining the call today. I want to use my time with you to offer my thoughts on the business, run through the progress we're making on key initiatives, and provide some context on what we're seeing in the broader market. J.D. will then cover the quarter's financials and our updated guidance.

Before we jump in, let me provide the usual disclaimer. During today's call, we may discuss LendingTree's plans, expectations, outlooks or forecast for future performance. Forward-looking statements are typically preceded by words such as we expect, we believe, we anticipate, or other similar statements. These forward-looking statements 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 LendingTree's periodic reports filed with the SEC.

On this call, we will discuss a number of non-GAAP measures, and I refer you to today's press release available on our website at investors.lendingtree.com for the comparable GAAP measure, definitions and full reconciliations of GAAP measures or non-GAAP measures to GAAP. With that, let's get into it.

Overall, I'm pleased to report that LendingTree once again delivered a record quarter in terms of revenue, variable marketing margin and adjusted EBITDA. I am even more pleased with the strategic and operational successes we've had during this quarter. There are a few key areas I'd like to focus on today. One, the success of our diversification strategy. Two, what we're seeing in the mortgage market. Three, our track record in M&A. And four, our progress on My LendingTree.

So first, let's talk about the diversification of our product portfolio. Five years ago we consciously set out to expand into new loan categories. Although we always had a variety of loan types through our network, we first put real focused effort on growing our personal loans business. Next with small business loans, then student loans, and credit cards, both organically and through acquisitions. Then followed by deposits, credit services, and most recently insurance. These new product offerings have truly transformed the entire business. And on top of that, they continue to experience solid growth. Five years ago, if someone told me that the mix of our revenues would flip flop from roughly 80% mortgage to roughly 80% non-mortgage, and then be five times our size, I would have had a hard time believing it myself. Our diversified product mix enabled us to weather the storm, various market shifts and credit cycles in individual products. And with each new product offering, we're able to deliver increasingly more value to customers, engage with consumers more frequently and in new and different ways.

Now let's talk about what we've diversified away from: mortgage. Clearly, mortgage will always be an incredibly important and meaningful part of our business. As I'm sure you're aware, the overall industry is struggling with higher interest rates, rising home prices, low housing inventory and declining volume, but we are working closely with our lenders to ensure that they can navigate this market profitably. Those long-standing relationships are one reason why our mortgage business continues to do so well, continuing -- considering the industry headwinds.

Even though mortgage revenues are down sequentially, I'd like to go through some of the reasons why we remain very optimistic on our mortgage business over the intermediate and long-term. Obviously, the pool of borrowers that can benefit from refinancing changes with interest rates. And because consumers enter the market at different times, that pool of borrowers that can benefit also fluctuates. According to industry estimates, the pool of homeowners who would qualify for and benefit from a refinance is that is -- is at its lowest point since 2008 with only an estimated 1.5 million households that fall into that category. However, as we work toward fully understanding the customer journey, we're finding our presence in mortgage as actually driving traffic and revenue to our other loan products. Given rising interest rates, many consumers who initially come to LendingTree for a mortgage aren't seeing the financial benefit of a refinance, and thus are increasingly finding their way to another LendingTree product.

In fact, since 2016, the likelihood of reengagement has by most measures internally doubled. Just this year the percentage of consumers who initially shopped with LendingTree for a mortgage, and then reengaged with LendingTree on a non-mortgage product in the same quarter is up 53%. We also track the unique behavior of the mortgage customer who filled out a form and found multiple matches versus a very different behavior of the borrower who is not able to find a match given their weak credit. And the good news is that, cohorts are finding their way to other LendingTree products.

Additionally, we are making great strides on our new mortgage experience. When we first began testing on the new platform, we focused only on refinance. In the third quarter, we launched purchase on the new mortgage experience. We're releasing new features every single day, aimed at helping consumers and simplifying the process. Additionally, we have a robust pipeline of more than 20 lenders in the queue. And what is especially encouraging is that we're now able to track new types of lenders who historically have not been able to effectively operate on comparison shopping platforms, including big banks and new mortgage companies. And the rise of the fully digital mortgage companies are also seeing great success on our new experience as well.

We've increased mortgage traffic to the new experience now at approximately 6%, which costs roughly $1 million of adjusted EBITDA per month because of the difference in monetization. And as we continue to optimize and enhance the experience, we'll ramp up traffic as we improve monetization. Overall, I'm very excited for this game changing experience and believe this will transform the mortgage experience for both consumers and lenders on LendingTree.

Finally, despite the third quarter challenges we faced in mortgage and the seasonality we expect to come into play in Q4, we're also seeing some signs of life in October that are very encouraging. Considering the consumer engagement and the traction with the new mortgage experience, I'm looking forward to our opportunities in mortgage over the next few months, and we will go into greater details during our Investor Day in December.

Moving on to M&A. Since 2016, we've completed eight transactions for a total consideration value of just over $680 million, including potential earn outs. Five of these acquisitions have been for less than $40 million. Prior to QuoteWizard, which just closed yesterday, our largest acquisition was CompareCards in November of 2016. This transaction was critical to our diversification strategy. In many ways, QuoteWizard is very similar. It gives us a strong presence in an important and large category, and it was evaluated using the same approach we applied to each opportunity. We take meticulous strategic and disciplined approach to transactions, and we are always looking for revenue synergies and ways to strengthen both the platform and the consumer offering. I'm incredibly proud of the team and what we've been able to accomplish in this area.

Next I'd like to touch on the progress we're seeing with My LendingTree. We now have over 9 million users, and the contribution from this product continues to climb, growing 68% year-over-year. We continue to improve our alert functionality, and our feedback from consumers continues to improve. We are enrolling new customers from opt-ins across the LendingTree platform have ramped up app installs to over 8,000 a week, and have a robust pipeline of syndication deals very similar to our deal with H&R Block. Overall, I am thrilled with our progress on LendingTree -- My LendingTree.

And now I'd like to turn the call over to J.D. for more details on our financial progress.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks Doug, and thanks to everyone for joining this morning.

With Doug having given his thoughts, I'd like to provide further color on our financial results and some additional context on our guidance for the remainder of the year.

As Doug said, our third quarter results demonstrate many of the same themes we discussed in the second quarter. The macro pressure facing mortgage and more specifically the margin pressure felt at our lender partners remains persistent. But despite the sustained pressure in mortgage, the overall business continues to perform incredibly well as our non-mortgage categories scale. Margins expanded significantly, and we once again grew variable marketing margin and adjusted EBITDA by more than 30%.

Total revenue for the quarter of $197.1 million was up 15% year-over-year. While a 25% decline in mortgage revenue weighed down overall revenue growth, our collective non-mortgage revenue grew 45% to $141.8 million, and now accounts for 72% of total revenues. And importantly, more than 80% of total variable marketing dollars.

Several non-mortgage verticals produced standout performance in the third quarter. First, our personal loans business generated $38.6 million of revenue, up 52% year-over-year. While this is a category that is certainly benefiting from growth in the end market, the fundamentals of the business continue to improve as we see increasing demand among both the newer entrant non-bank lenders and traditional banks. Although we have seen reports of certain lenders citing credit concerns and moderating their growth expectations, the aggregate demand among our lender network is as strong as ever.

Second, you may recall that after a challenging second quarter we indicated that we saw some signs that our credit card business was stabilizing. Well, we're happy to report the revenue and the contribution from cards rebounded nicely, growing 8% year-on-year, and an impressive 10% sequentially to $42.7 million. Our efforts to diversify our issuer base and aligned with those partners during the first half of the year are providing for a more stable and predictable revenue stream, and we're starting to introduce more innovative ad units beyond traditional cost per approval arrangements.

Third, our Other category continues to grow in both revenue and contribution. In fact, Q3 was the first quarter in which Other, the aggregate of those businesses aside from mortgage card and personal loans was larger in both revenue and contribution than any of those large businesses individually. Other, in total grew 84% year-on-year.

As Doug pointed out, our diversification has been facilitated through both organic efforts and acquisitions. Most recently, we are happy to report the acquisition of Student Loan Hero, and we're pleased to report that the early results from our now scaled student business were very strong in Q3. The traditional in-school student lending business is very seasonal, and Q3 is critical. We are confident that the acquisition of Student Loan Hero helped our already strong SimpleTuition business executed in Q3. And all indications are that Student Loan Hero should benefit materially from being part of the LendingTree platform.

Small business, deposits, and credit services continue to be stand-outs among our non-mortgage category. And while these are areas where we have made acquisitions, we were in two of these three categories prior. Most of our acquisitions have been small, as Doug pointed out earlier, but they've helped us to scale and in turn become more critical to our partners. From there we execute a playbook. We go deeper with existing lenders and partners, expand the network, and unlock incremental traffic sources.

Finally, let's discuss mortgage. Revenue of $55.3 million was down 25% compared to an exceptional third quarter last year. It should not be a surprise that the decrease was entirely driven by softness in refinance activity where industry originations continue their decline. In this difficult environment, we're focused on maintaining healthy relationships with our lenders, many of whom are struggling. We're focused on lender economics and we are consciously optimizing our marketing efforts to deliver high quality traffic for our lenders, at times to the detriment of increasing volume. While the current environment is certainly a challenging one, we are encouraged that the strength in our other products are enabling us to weather this period while staying focused on improving our mortgage offering and continuing to deliver results for shareholders.

Now let's move on to margins, which are the story once again this quarter. As we've been saying consistently, we run the business to optimize for variable marketing margin dollars, and grow adjusted EBITDA. In the third quarter, we delivered $76.8 million of VMD, up 30% year-over-year. Even including the expensing of a series of offline advertising test run in the quarter, our Variable Marketing Margin as a result -- as a percent of revenue improved to 39%, the highest such measure since the first quarter of 2015. While we are managing to the percentage, you can appreciate that our efforts to drive more traffic from organic or near organic sources are beginning to really materialize, and we are clearly benefiting from the continued expansion of our product offerings.

Most importantly for shareholders, adjusted EBITDA grew 31% to $45.3 million. After a few quarters of accelerated headcount growth to scale the business, we are returning to demonstrating operating leverage in the portion of the cost structure beneath variable marketing expense. From a GAAP perspective, net income from continuing operations came in at $28.4 million or $2.05 per diluted share. And adjusted net income per share, which excludes certain items expensed under GAAP was $1.92, up 64% year-over-year. With that context in hand, let me provide some color around our revised guidance for the remainder of the year.

With QuoteWizard just closed yesterday, we're layering some upside onto our adjust -- pre-existing outlook to account for the two months of impact the deal will have on our reported financials. With that, we are increasing our full-year revenue guidance to $765 million to $775 million. This reflects softness in the mortgage business, coupled with seasonality, offset by an estimated contribution from the new insurance vertical. VMD is now expected in the range of $283 million to $288 million, up from $275 million to $285 million. While mortgage continues to present challenges on the top line revenue, we remain confident in our ability to generate VMD at levels consistent with what we've promised all year. And adjusted EBITDA is now expected to be $152 million to $155 million for the year, an increase from $148 million to $152 million, and now representing year-over-year growth of 32% to 35%.

Having just closed the acquisition yesterday, we're not in a position to provide a great deal of context on insurance today, but we look forward to doing that and updating you on -- updating you all on our outlook for 2019 at our Investor Day in New York on December 4th.

With that, I'll hand it back to Doug.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And with that, operator, let's open it up to questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Mark Mahaney of RBC. Your line is now open.

Mark Mahaney -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. Thank you. Two questions, please. One, could you talk about the credit card segment, look like that recovered a little bit in Q2, but talk -- I'm sorry, in Q3, but talk about that going forward the sustainability of that recovery that you saw? And in terms of the Q4 guidance, could you just say how much of that guidance increase is simply due to the acquisition of QuoteWizard or it -- is the organic -- is there an organic reduction in revenue kind of offset by that increase? Just quantify the QuoteWizard contribution. Thank you.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Mark. It's J.D., I'll start with credit card. As you recall, last quarter, we talked about -- we talked about some signs of stabilization, and we in fact broke it down by month. And we indicated that May was really the difficult month, and that we saw some signs of stabilization in June, and as we began the third quarter. Simply put that played out.

One of the things we talked about was, we were getting closer with our issuer partners. We're happy to report that not only have we gotten closer with many of them and seen expanding wallet share there, but we're actually -- we've actually grown the issuer network in the third quarter as well. And then the economics have just improved. We've done a better job managing the marketing mix. Keep in mind there are two ongoing transformations since the CompareCards acquisition. One is the diversification of issuers, and the other is layering on different marketing channels into our card mix, and so we're seeing real benefit from both, it's driven by both.

We talk about the sequential growth, the contribution in the quarter, just the sequential contribution, improvement was in excess of 30%. So, card really did deliver for the bottom line in the third quarter, and we're excited about that business go forward. Now, that's against the backdrop by the way, where -- we talked about this whole mix between reward cards and balance transfer. It is not in the broader environment for card, we've not seen in the channel the balance transfer cards become prominent again. So we're executing in a somewhat challenging environment for card, and the growth that we're delivering -- the sequential growth that we are delivering is a function of execution, not the external environment. We've not yet seen the issuers come back with balance transfer cards. So that's the card business. And we are encouraged that -- if we can execute in that environment, at some point those balance transfer cards are going to come back, we get paid more for those, they are more valuable for the issuers, and so we're just going to continue the playbook of expanding the network, improving the marketing mix, and being there when that market recovers. But if we can deliver growth in this environment, it's a pretty good indication for 2019. So that's card.

Your second question was with regard to, how much of our contribution. We talked last -- when we announced the acquisition, we got asked the question about seasonality in insurance. It does not have unique seasonality. But like our business, November and December are always months that we're somewhat conservative with projections. So we're getting two months of QuoteWizard, we've layered on, I think appropriate upside effectively to our full-year plan. We modestly adjusted for mortgage downward on revenue-only not on VMD and EBITDA, just to be clear, just like last quarter, we can deliver the bottom line, but we did adjust the revenue guide for mortgage modestly. And the reason for that, as you look at the aggregate year, look at the fourth quarter, it is the most significant decline in refi, it's expected to be down 38%. So in that environment we thought it was appropriate to take the revenue from mortgage-only down just modestly.

Mark Mahaney -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you, J.D.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Nat Schindler of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Your line is now open.

Nathaniel Schindler -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Yes, hi guys. Thank you. Can you help me out on the mortgage business. It means -- the gap between you and the industry looks like its narrowed in this quarter. Was that conscious on your time in that you decided that it wasn't worth as much to fight in refi if it wasn't going to do as well, so you shifted marketing dollars mid-quarter or is there something more fundamental going on?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So it's a great question. And everything we do is conscious, and we've talked before about the flywheel and this ultimately boils down to what we call CPL and RPL, Revenue Per Lead and Cost Per Lead. And we just -- in the mortgage environment we have where lenders are -- where there's not enough refinance volume as they're switching over to purchase, we adjust our marketing spend to be in tune with whatever those revenue per leads are. In a purchase customer, if you remember, monetize about half of a refinance customer, so you drive more purchase volume from organic sources, SEO, and just people knowing about LendingTree, TV et cetera, and so that's really the switch over that we're seeing. So I wouldn't take any alarm with it, because we're basically just maximizing our VMD every single day. And as I said in October, we're seeing unit revenue improve, which is giving us a lot more confidence going into Q4. We're also seeing -- importantly the Cost Per Lead is coming down as, we always say, there's two sides to this equation as mortgage companies increasingly focus on their most profitable channels, they're going to be doing more business with LendingTree and less direct marketing on research and other things, so that helps out our marketing expense.

Nathaniel Schindler -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Great. And also just a quick follow-up. Can you break out the various growth rates between purchase and refi as you done in the past? Is that possible?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's possible, but I don't know that we've done that. For J.D., do we --

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

No, we're not. Now we're not breaking that down. We've talked about our revenue relative to the industry, but the actual refi activity.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

But the decline in business. The revenue -- the top line decline in mortgage is a 100% refi driven and offset by some growth in purchase.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

As we've -- now, I guess one of things we've talked already, the purchase business is just -- it's a harder business, we get paid less for it because of conversion rates as we've talked about in the past. Right now we're in an environment where that refi activity is de minimis. And so we're having to execute in the lower margin product effectively. And now, just like we talked about at the end of Q2 in card, we're internally seeing some signs, as Doug pointed out, particularly on the cost side in mortgage, they are beginning to be encouraging, but that's against a backdrop where we're expecting a 38% decline in broader refi activity in Q4 coupled with Q1 being a tough comparison for mortgage. As you remember, we were able to drive RPLs double digits in Q1, that was the last quarter where we had RPL expansion. So we're seeing good signs internally in mortgage, but only internally. The cost equation is getting better and that's great. But we're going into a tough -- we're in a tough fourth quarter for refi, and we do have one difficult comparison ahead of us in Q1 of next year. But importantly, those initial signs that the mix between RPL and CPL is improving are there.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And then the only other thing I'd add, increasingly over time we're going to be looking at the total platform revenue. The individual products are important. But as I said earlier, we're seeing a lot of crossover from mortgage where people traditionally may click on a mortgage ads and they come in and they say there's no benefit, they pop over to a personal loan, et cetera. And then the other thing I would add is that the new mortgage experience completely changes the game on conversion rates as we improve that monetization. And just one encouraging sign we are seeing, lenders locking loans at about a four times higher clip on the new mortgage experience than the current mortgage experience, and the net promoter scores are very, very high on that. So as we work to sort of automate the mind of the loan officer on the site and we get the monetization equal, then that's going to really change the game in the mortgage business and hopefully give us a new leg of growth.

Nathaniel Schindler -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from John Campbell of Stephens. Your line is now open.

John Campbell -- Stephens, Inc. -- Analyst

Hey guys, good morning.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Hey, John.

John Campbell -- Stephens, Inc. -- Analyst

Hi. Doug, you mentioned flipping of a mortgage to about 20% of rev, clearly you guys have the addition of QuoteWizard, that's going to I guess pushed mortgage mix shift a little bit lower. But just looking at the forecast, if we stuck with that, if we just kind of went with that 20% mix, I'm thinking you might have to see mortgage down again next year. I know you guys mentioned the tough comp in 1Q of '19, and I'm sure you guys will talk about this more at Analyst Day, but am I thinking about the phasing of that mortgage revenue right? And is it pretty difficult to grow mortgage revenue next year?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No. We are definitely planning on growing mortgage next year, and the percentage mix just changes based on the individual growth rates. Some of the other businesses are growing faster, but mortgage we absolutely expect to grow significantly next year.

John Campbell -- Stephens, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, that's great to hear. And then on the broadcast spent, can you talk just kind of broadly how that looked year-over-year. And if you guys maybe intend on stepping on -- accelerated a little bit more as you get into next year?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I'll hit it at a high level. And I'll let J.D. comment as well. Our broadcast spent, we've been testing, we have been running decent amount of TV, we're also running ads now increasingly on our non-mortgage products, particularly credit card, including some ads on the CompareCards brand, which are either running or they're in-process. And so year-over-year marketing spend offline is down because of the mortgage environment, you just don't want to market into lower revenue per lead if you can't do it profitably, but yes, we have a -- we'll talk more about in December. We have a significant offline spend anticipated for next year, and we expect to be able to do that very profitably.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, John, I'll let add is, interestingly, I mean, clearly offline spend is down in 2018. It's down in part because very intentionally, as Doug points out, in mortgage specifically the RPLs didn't necessarily justify that TV spend. But it's also down because we've been going through an evaluation of how we should be spending those dollars. We've got a new logo that you might have noticed, we -- as Doug pointed out, are going to advertise not just broad LendingTree but specific products. And in Q3, It was actually up meaningfully relative to Q2, because we were testing, and that's what we're referencing. We're testing different ad units in regional markets. So in Q3 it was actually up, but in a testing format. We will roll it out more specifically at Investor Day what our intention is, but it should be up meaningfully.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And the only other thing I'd add is well on the marketing flywheel effect. We have built over the last couple of years a significant SEO business, now tracking to roughly 20% of our revenue, and that's from almost zero a few years ago.

John Campbell -- Stephens, Inc. -- Analyst

That's great color. Thanks guys.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, John.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Jed Kelly of Oppenheimer. Your line is now open.

Jed Kelly -- Oppenheimer & Co. -- Analyst

Hi. Yeah. Just following up on the advertising discussion. Online advertising, I guess it continues to actually grow faster than your revenue this year. Does that become harder to leverage in 2019 as you stop -- as you start to comp some of the lower -- really I guess, the lower expenses or the lower spend you made in broadcast TV? I guess, how should we think how you're optimizing for your online advertising spend?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So the online advertising spend is optimized in minute if you will. So it's -- in real time we're constantly looking at the supply and demand equation and marketing up to the last profitable dollar anywhere we can find it. So you're looking at the demand from your lenders, looking at the availability of inventory, making sure you can do it cost effectively, and you optimizing online stuff in real time.

The offline spend, this year we've done a lot of analytics and data tracking. It does make money over the period of, let's say, six months, but you sort of go negative and then you go positive for many amount of ad spend, and we can draw those curves out fairly precisely, and it gives us a lot of confidence to be able to market into next year. Particularly, as you're getting increasing monetization from My LendingTree and people are buying multiple products, that does nothing but improve your lifetime value and gives even more juice to go market against.

Jed Kelly -- Oppenheimer & Co. -- Analyst

And then on the digital mortgage, can you give us an update just how consumers' throughput is doing? And as we move through a purchase environment, how much outreach is going to be -- asked to be done on your part to educate lenders on how to manage leads and better drive on -- I guess on a product that's harder to convert converter that has a longer sales cycle?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So on mortgage -- could you repeat your first question, Jed?

Jed Kelly -- Oppenheimer & Co. -- Analyst

How's the (inaudible) throughput are not digital mortgages? (Multiple Speakers)

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Okay, yeah. So -- got it. Yeah. So the digital mortgage experience -- so first off, LendingTree in the new model takes a consumer from inquiry, which is filling out the form, think about like a search query, shows you the results and then LendingTree helps you make a -- helps you make a selection. Once you select a lender, you either deal with that lender "manually" even though manual today is very, very automated or there are some lenders better mortgage is a good example, who have a non-human touch, fully digitized experience once you fill out the actual application and then actually lock online. So the advent of the digital mortgage experience, whether it's the Rocket Mortgage of Quicken Loans, the things that loanDepot and many others are doing, and that technology is becoming more and more available. But it's really sort of a click over to a fully digital application, think of it like the personal loans product. It reduces a lot of friction, and we're helping lenders get increasingly automated.

To your second point, the notion of touch points particularly on purchase, think of a -- and you've heard me talk about the mind of the loan officer. The logged in experience of LendingTree needs to overtime emulate what a loan officer would talk to you about, what are your goals, let's see what products we have, how long are you going to stay in that house, et cetera, et cetera. With purchase, you layer on the fact you need to keep a realtor in the loop, and the time lag between the time a customer comes in and the time they ultimately close, it could sometimes be as long as six months. During that period, you need to incubate them, and we do that mostly through technology. We were -- we had to do this when we own LendingTree loan, so we're bringing those that muscle tone back so that we know how to interact with customers, but most of it we are not doing over the phone, most of it's coming through text, email and then the online experience, plus alerts telling you that rates are changing, et cetera, et cetera. So as that incubation process gets better and more automated, we think -- we actually think that purchase will be easier in the new mortgage experience than refi, because that similar -- because basically we'll be running the same incubation process across all of our lenders, and we'll be doing that ones as opposed each of our lenders doing at five times.

Jed Kelly -- Oppenheimer & Co. -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Mike Grondahl of Northland Securities. Your line is now open.

Michael Grondahl -- Northland Securities -- Analyst

Yeah, thanks guys. Two quick questions. One is, how is the home equity business doing? And secondly, outside of mortgage, could you rank your sort of products from best visibility to maybe least visibility?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So let me comment on home equity. The home equity business is doing fine, but I would say, it has not reached the ramming speed of several years ago, and I'll talk about why that is, but that's starting to change. Before 2008 you had lenders, mostly banks, doing home equity loans and keeping them on their balance sheets and they did them in a highly automated way with drive-by appraisals and most of it done online. Very, very high conversion rates just like we see in personal loans. The banks have not yet brought that process back, and there is not really a liquid secondary market for home equity like there used to be pre-crisis. So with that, the home equity business is growing more slowly. But as technology automation happens and we've got some exciting things on the docket for next year, then we get the RPL up, and then we can market into that.

The other thing I would say about home equity, you also get a lot of business where people come in for a home equity loan then they can get a full refinance on their home. So you also pickup some refinance business through home equity. But overall, I would say, we're waiting for and helping the automation home equity to happen, so that we can then market into it.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Mike, it's J.D. All I would say is, we've traditionally called out home equity, but it wasn't about calling out home equity, it was taking that non-mortgage category, and away from those individual businesses like card NPL that are big enough that we need to identify the absolute dollar number -- the dollar amount, we obviously for competitive reasons we don't want to give individual business scale, but we do want to give you and investors a sense for what's driving the broad -- increasingly broad non-mortgage category. And so we always highlight those that have contributed most, and that's why we're in this quarter -- home equity just wasn't among the top three that we pointed out grew in excess of 100%. The business is fine, but the percentage growth rates are not as overwhelming partially because a year ago that business was probably inflated by lenders who were buying home equity leads to convert them into a refi product.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And the only other thing I'd add on product visibility. It's kind of interesting is we got ready -- as we're getting ready for a new TV ad campaign, obviously, we do a lot of research. Consumers still think of LendingTree as primarily a mortgage business, as a mortgage comparison shopping service, and we are going to change that next year with our new ad campaign, and I think it's all upside. If people are thinking about us for a mortgage and it's not a significant part of our business, once they realize oh, wow! LendingTree does all of that too. We get much more enthusiasm about the brand and we can tell that story very easily through advertising.

Michael Grondahl -- Northland Securities -- Analyst

It will be good to see that at the Investor Day. Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Michael Tarkan of Compass Point. Your line is now open.

Michael Tarkan -- Compass Point Research & Trading LLC -- Analyst

Thanks for taking my question. Just a technical one here. I saw on the VMM calc on the back page, you had 3.6 million cost of advertising resold to third-parties. Can you just provide a little color on that? And if that flew through to revenue in some form or another.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. No, absolutely. So, we -- we've talked in the past -- over the last year about business development partnerships and so -- and the media side, we own a fair -- good amount of inventory with CNN and MSN that we use for our own properties, and periodically we decide to resell that inventory. And so, rather than -- so we classify that differently from accounting perspective as cost of revenue rather than traditional classification for our own business. So we're just making -- drawing the distinction. So that when we sell it to a third-party, and it's not a LendingTree sale, but sold to another publisher.

Michael Tarkan -- Compass Point Research & Trading LLC -- Analyst

Is that the -- Sorry, go ahead.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And have you -- and conceptually if you think about it, basically, we've done a partnership with a partner, and instead of running LendingTree appearance -- LendingTree ads or units are rate tables constantly, you reach a point of where are with the consumer and then we shift that inventory of to other ad buyers through all the ad networks in an highly automated fashion. So it's -- and over time as our other products -- as that inventory can be better spent on LendingTree products, we will simply do that.

Michael Tarkan -- Compass Point Research & Trading LLC -- Analyst

Is that activity that we should expect to continue or is this sort of a one-time situation or just sort of temporary? How do we think about the sustainability of that?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So I would think about it in terms of just revenue, because if that we weren't reselling that inventory, we'd be running on LendingTree ad and it would be in LendingTree revenue, so it will fluctuate up and down depending on those deals. But I would just -- it's effectively taking revenue from one LendingTree product and sticking it in another one. So I wouldn't think of it is like a huge growth engine of the business. It's more of just a supplement or a substitution for other LendingTree product revenue.

Michael Tarkan -- Compass Point Research & Trading LLC -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then question on sort of pricing versus volume. In the past you've talked, I think, directionally about how mortgage you had, pricing power, and then you're sort of flat now, is that the road being a little bit on the pricing side? And then same question on personal loans, are you still able to take pricing up on your lender base?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Let me take mortgage, and I'll give J.D. personal. And so, pricing power, if you think about it, it really comes from lenders conversion rate. So they put in effectively a bid or what they're willing to pay for a given customer introduction or a lead. And we've -- and that's where the pricing power comes from. And in October we've actually seen pricing move up with some of our significant lenders, because conversion rates are better, they've worked through some of the -- the switchover costs from refinance to purchase, and they're able to convert better. And because of that they up their bids, because of that we can then market into it. So we're actually seeing pricing strength in Q4 a little bit.

Michael Tarkan -- Compass Point Research & Trading LLC -- Analyst

Thank you.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And by the way the other nice thing about that, that tends to stick as you go through another cycle. So if you think -- put yourself in the mind of a lender, you're cutting every unprofitable marketing channel back. And your LendingTree channel, which is generally sustainable and very profitable for lenders, and they can toggle the volume up and down, that tends to be the last channel they turn off. And then not only does that help our revenue per lead, but on the cost per lead side, as I mentioned, as lenders pull out of direct advertising, that improves our economics online as well.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Youssef Squali of SunTrust. Your line is now open.

Youssef Squali -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Hi, thank you very much for taking the question. Maybe you can just speak to the -- your guidance or particularly what's the implied VMM growth relative to revenue growth looks like, maybe at the midpoint, that's about $79 million as to VMM for Q4. Maybe you can just help us think through that and also the contribution of QuoteWizard to VMM if you can help share that. Thanks.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. We've seen an ongoing -- we obviously have reached a recent peak here in the third quarter with respect to VMM percentage at 39% as we pointed out. QuoteWizard operates at a very similar margin profile to LendingTree business, it's one of the things that attracted us to it. We'll get two months of it in the quarter. Our -- as I pointed out earlier, we did -- the only number aside from QuoteWizard, the only adjustment made was for mortgage revenue, not for VMD in that guide and not for EBITDA. So we'll continue to see strong VMD and EBITDA. There shouldn't be a huge differential in terms of that growth rate in Q4, and QuoteWizard's contribution is similar with respect to percentage.

Youssef Squali -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

I think on a percentage basis, at the midpoint I'd assume some deterioration on the margin side. Is that just seasonal or what's going on there?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

There's always a little bit of seasonal in there, yes, every quarter, that has nothing to do with QuoteWizard.

Youssef Squali -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Got it.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

And we're operating off of it. If you want to talk about, it's sequential, we're coming off of a 39%, a peak number there.

Youssef Squali -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Okay. And then just still on the cost side. Can you may be shed some more light on the cost of revenue jump in the third quarter? And how we should think about it going forward?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

It's what we just discussed on the advertising side that Doug just went into detail on, that's the cost of revenue increase.

Youssef Squali -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. All right. Thank you.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Stephen Sheldon of William Blair. Your line is now open.

Stephen Sheldon -- William Blair -- Analyst

Yeah. Hi, good morning. So you've gotten a lot of questions on mortgage, but just given the degree of the decline this quarter, I just wanted to ask if anything has changed in your view within the competitive environment that has had any impact there?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No, I don't think it -- I don't think it has. We -- obviously we're in a -- the same, I would call it same competitive environment with the other aggregators. We continue -- we believe we continue to take share from -- on the lender side, we continue to see great growth there. And so, I have not seen -- we have not seen any significant competitive pressure. There's always innovation in the business. But the good news there is, a tough mortgage market benefits LendingTree, I would say, disproportionately than others, because we still have the ability to go out in market because of our deep lender network. And then as I said, once we have a new mortgage experience up and running, that's a game changer with respect to capacity. So for example, our lenders will see roughly -- we'll see many fewer leads coming in the front door, but they will be much more highly qualified, which means they will open up the floodgates, increase demand, and then we'll be able to market into that, and that's why we're putting so much effort on that new experience.

Stephen Sheldon -- William Blair -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. And then I know you will provide more at the Investor Day, but just at a high level and more qualitatively, how are you thinking about adjusted EBITDA margins heading into 2019, kind of excluding the impact from QuoteWizard. Would you expect some pull back next year given the boost you've gotten this year from layer -- lower variable marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue, which could go up next year, and a potentially more favorable demand environment, or what the leverage from headcount additions this year and marketing efficiencies, maybe let adjusted EBITDA margins still trend up some next year. Thanks.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So Stephen, it's a good question. I think we're certainly not -- we will definitely get some operating leverage, which will be great. As we pointed out, we expect mortgage to grow. We but this is not -- when you look at our margins being in excess of 20%, they may go up modestly, but that's not a deliberate strategy. You shouldn't, we get ask the question all the time, what's the natural margin in the business. I don't think that what you're seeing this year is necessarily something that you should pencil out as an improvement into next year. We're still very much in market share gain mode. And so we're going to go after dollars, as we've talked about, that may not necessarily translate into -- we're going to operate the business in the same EBITDA margin zip code that we have for some time. So, we'll get some operating leverage share, but we will be in growth mode and our margins will be what our traditional margins have been. Part of this is that, we've obviously made marketing decisions in the light of the macro environment in mortgage. And so that's -- that is resulting in a year in which maybe the top line growth is not as strong, but the margin expansion is there. We look forward to getting back to an environment where we're going to see top line growth.

Stephen Sheldon -- William Blair -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And by the way, that is -- just to add on to that. That is a -- you'll see -- if you look at LendingTree over the years, you will see some variation in margin percentages as the macro environment changes, because you only -- because you market up to your last profitable dollar, and -- however the VMM dollars and EBITDA dollars keep climbing through that, so that's -- those are the numbers that I tend to look at, because individual percentage margins can vary based on channel mix and individual demand and individual products.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Eric Wasserstrom of UBS. Your line is now open.

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

Thanks. Hi, how are you. Just one more question on mortgage, which is similar to the question I asked last quarter, which is, just about the relative debt of this transition for the lender base versus prior cycles, and I think your response last quarter was that, it is -- it's a deeper and therefore maybe longer lasting, and I just wanted to see if anything about that perspective has changed?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I don't -- the longer lasting -- I'm not sure I would say, this is definitely "deeper" given the statistic I put about consumer benefit. If you come in for a refinance, and you're -- you can save money either in a lower payment or you guys can always -- most the time you could save my lower payments stretch out your term, probably not the best consumer idea, but if you don't have a financial benefit, obviously there's -- doesn't make sense to refinance and those numbers have been way down.

The good news though in mortgage, and I've seen this play out over 20 years, it's not the absolute value of interest rates that drive refinance and purchase volume, it's more the -- refinance volume, it's the rate of change. So you can have low interest rates. And when the tenure knocks down a little bit, you get a flood of refinance volume, because consumers can save money from the old -- from there, now high -- "high rates". So even historically low rates, you can still get good refinance volume as those rates bump up and down, and you just adjust your marketing mix. I've said before, the mortgage business functions very much like the hotel business in travel, lenders will fill up capacity, they will -- if they've got excess capacity inside of their shops, they want more volume, if they can do it profitably, then they keep their bids down. But as they improve their conversion rates in their technology, those bids move up as they're doing in October. And then as I said, we market into it.

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

So just in terms of the ending of shake out (ph), what would be your assessment?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

The ending, I mean time frame or --?

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

Yeah. Like the -- the baseball referenced to like which innings?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good question. I have given our predicting interest rates. And so I think I'm going to maintain that. I have absolutely no clue. All I know is that the playbook for us changes from one interest rate cycle to another, and we can -- we flip the switch very strongly. But if you've got to read on where rates are going, please let me know, because it -- advance warning always helps.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Eric, the only thing I add to that -- sorry, some of the new experiences we're going through should change who on the lender side, benefits and can operate on the network. And thus, we don't have -- you don't have to call the bottom of the cycle for our traditional lender client, we should benefit from that network expansion before that occurs.

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

Right, got it. (Multiple Speakers) question which was then -- what is the 10X driving your expectation about next year, and it sounds like it's more the transitions that you put in place, it's not so much an expectation about a bottoming of the broader cycle. Is that correct?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

That is correct.

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

Great. Thanks very much.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We typically -- we typically set our mortgage plan based on what the NBA looks like and we need that to set the numbers, but the other VMM can grow through both cycles as long as we continue to make conversion rate improvements. And then to J.D.'s point that he just said to about new types of lenders and broadened base. As we switch over the mortgage experience, it levels the competitive playing field on the network side, and that's basically what you see is that, these less automated lenders can actually compete against the Quickens and the loanDepots et cetera who have highly automated factory has been doing this for 20 years. And then that helps to improve their conversion rates, which really improves aggregate conversion rates, because it's very similar to the long tail effect that you saw with search engines, and the more you can boost up the lenders who are in sort of that long tail, you then improve your economics overall.

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

Got it. Great. Thanks very much.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Kunal Madhukar of Deutsche Bank. Your line is now open.

Kunal Madhukar -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Hi, thanks for taking the question. Question on My LendingTree, and the growth there slowed down on a quarter-over-quarter basis, and the comp was tougher, but the annualized revenue per My LendingTree account declined significantly sequentially. What's behind that? Is there some seasonality there, or is that the promotions are not as attractive?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, no. I think, I mean, our growth rate declined from, I think, like 100% to like 70% sequentially, and I think it's simply more of a factor of your -- we're marketing less, so therefore you've got less traffic flowing through the system and a lot of our track -- a lot of the My LendingTree signups are coming through, you know, sign ups from the core LendingTree platform, and so that growth rate is -- we're incredibly happy with it. And then as the monetization improves, you can continue to do marketing. And as I said, we've got a really, really robust pipeline of syndication deals and expect to hear more from that in the coming weeks and months. But, no, I'm very, very encouraged about the progress we've made with My LendingTree and I wouldn't -- I wouldn't sweat the growth rate difference.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. And Kunal, the only thing I'd add to that is, just take a look at -- the thing that we're encouraged by is the app downloads, and if you look at our presence in the app store that's improving, the downloads are improving dramatically, the quality overall of the people opting in. What we want this to ultimately be is not just a base of members, but also people engaging in the app. And so, from a quality perspective, we think it improved dramatically in the quarter.

Kunal Madhukar -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Great, thanks. And a quick follow-up on the guide. I know you've discussed the revenue guide previously, but by my math and my math maybe off, I'm getting like a mid-single digit pro forma year-over-year revenue growth for the fourth quarter. Is that the trough that we should expect?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

From a growth rate perspective, yeah, we don't -- we certainly do not. That is -- that is up against a difficult comparison from the fourth quarter a year ago with a very robust mortgage business. We certainly are not operating a -- that type of growth business room in aggregate. So in that respect, in terms of revenue growth, yes. It is a unique comparison, both the third and fourth quarter are tough comparisons when you consider the change in the revenue base for the mortgage business.

Kunal Madhukar -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Great. Thank you so much.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Rob Wildhack of Autonomous Research. Your line is now open.

Robert Wildhack -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

Hi guys. J.D., from your commentary earlier it sounded like we could infer that variable marketing dollars in mortgage were up year-over-year. Is that correct?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Variable marketing dollars year-over-year, no. We've seen -- I'm not sure which commentary you're referring to, I apologize. Which statement you're referring to?

Robert Wildhack -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

I think I'd have to go back and check, but we can do that offline. Maybe more broadly I wanted to ask about the sale of ad inventory. Do you consider that to be like a "lever" that you have one flexing marketing spend. And if you do, how far down the list of options is a decision like this?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. On the ad selling, I would, again, that is a sort of a substitute/complement, not really a lever. Basically you do a syndication deal with, let's say, a CNN, where we're going to put LendingTree rate tables, widgets, app downloads, opportunities, et cetera, et cetera on a site like CNN. You put the LendingTree applicable units there until the last profitable dollar and then whenever you can, and then whenever it's not profitable, it's easy to sell that excess inventory out to third parties. So I wouldn't see it as a lever. And quite frankly it's not something that I necessarily really focus on, because over time as LendingTree monetization improves, those ad units will be absorbed by LendingTree.

Robert Wildhack -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And, Rob, to answer -- to try to answer your first question just because we always want to do that. No, the dollars from mortgage and aggregate were certainly down. The percentage is flat quarter -- from Q3 of last year.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from Hamed Khorsand of BWS Financial. Your line is now open.

Hamed Khorsand -- BWS Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. Could you talk about how fast you can on board these acquisitions? Are they quickly generating traffic and revenue from -- coming onto your platform, how -- or are they still on a stand-alone basis?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hamed, great question, I really appreciate that, and it's something we probably used to focus on. We are able to, for the most part, predict what synergies were going to get before we even do the deal, because we can see what either changing the brand name is going to do or, for example, with -- we bought one SEO business and those guys are now running SEO across the whole company. So we're seeing synergies happen very, very fast, and I got it go hats off to our team here who really, really digs in everywhere from HR to Finance to Operations, and we like to call it the entrepreneur without the headaches. Every time we bring one of these guys in, we say listen, we'll handle your capital, we're going to handle all those things that it takes to run a business from a corporate standpoint, and all you got to do is go grow your business, and then we put people. We have great integration teams and knock on wood, all of these acquisitions have been very, very accretive for us. You can't bat a thousand in the M&A world, but I'm just thrilled with where our team has done it, and the synergies, if anything I think we underestimate them in some of our earlier deals.

Hamed Khorsand -- BWS Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay. And then as far as just the -- J.D. made comment about peak margin on the VMM. Is it becoming dilutive being in so many different products that you have to advertise each of them individually, and when do you start to do it in more of a platform setting?

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So, yeah, you try to do both. So, for example, you might run and ad that features somebody buying a home or somebody getting a mortgage or somebody getting a credit card, but typically you tried to also at the end talk about all of the loan types, so you can bring in traffic that way. But no, you -- the more products you have, I like to call it the more marketable events you have, and the more marketable events you have, the more you can optimize where you place those events across the web or across TV. So the more products, the better, and we do have some ads that run where we talk about everything and you can expect to see some more of that, but you just basically do whatever works, and you try to mix in individual product spots to tell a specific story, but then also tried to say, hey, but we're also here for everything.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

And, Hamed, I'd actually say it's kind of the opposite. All of these non-mortgage businesses are benefiting from draft traffic. And so, Doug made reference to it before, in terms of somebody coming in for mortgage and going somewhere else, and like every Internet company we're getting smarter in terms of tracking this and using data science to do that. Right. So what's very evident to us, is that, all of these other businesses are benefiting from draft traffic from not just mortgage but from each other, and that's the benefit of an acquired company coming onto the platform is that they get that traffic. And so the aggregate brand is contributing to them in a pretty material way, and that equally get smarter about this over time, and obviously deals with attribution models and we've got to pencil it all out. But it's really exciting actually when you see what benefit they can get from being part of the platform.

Hamed Khorsand -- BWS Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

So is your cost going up, is that why you're using the word dilutive in your commentary or peak?

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

No, no, no. When we say peak, what we're referring to is the fact that the VMM of 39% was the highest since what first quarter of '15. That's all what we're referring to. Now, as you know, we've managed the business for dollars. And so that VMM percentage may range from the low 30s to the high 30s. I'm simply referring to the fact that at 39% that was a high number relative to recent history.

Hamed Khorsand -- BWS Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, thank you.

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

But there was -- I didn't -- yeah, I'm not saying it's dilutive at all.

Operator

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude today's question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the call back over to Doug Lebda, the CEO, for any closing remarks.

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you operator, and thank you all for joining today and thank you for the really, really thoughtful questions. I'd just like to close with one comment. Around LendingTree, we always talk about trying to make sure we all think and act like owners, and we don't need to just put ourselves in your shoes, everybody here is an owner in LendingTree equity, and we think about it in the same terms that you do. And one other things that I think about as an investor, that I'm just thrilled with as I look over the years is the resilience of our business model. For those of you have been around a long time, you remember when we sold our mortgage company, we thought -- people thought, oh my gosh, this guy will fall in mortgage, we've had various mortgage rate changes over the years. You remember a few years ago the personal loan business was going to completely evaporate and go away. We had pressures in card or worries about card. And through each and every one of those, LendingTree has been able to grow through them all. Each time it gives us a lot more confidence in our business and in our ability to execute that we can not only survive but also thrive through different macro environments. Our lender network is strong, our team is executing incredibly well, and I'm very confident and optimistic about our future, and I look forward to sharing our long range plan and lots of new information at Investor Day and a little over a month.

Thank you all very much, and we'll talk to you soon.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude today's conference. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect. Everyone have a great day.

Duration: 66 minutes

Call participants:

Douglas Lebda -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

J.D. Moriarty -- Chief Financial Officer

Mark Mahaney -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Nathaniel Schindler -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

John Campbell -- Stephens, Inc. -- Analyst

Jed Kelly -- Oppenheimer & Co. -- Analyst

Michael Grondahl -- Northland Securities -- Analyst

Michael Tarkan -- Compass Point Research & Trading LLC -- Analyst

Youssef Squali -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Stephen Sheldon -- William Blair -- Analyst

Eric Wasserstrom -- UBS -- Analyst

Kunal Madhukar -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Robert Wildhack -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

Hamed Khorsand -- BWS Financial, Inc. -- Analyst

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