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With a housing market that’s the most competitive it’s been in years, home buyers need every advantage they can get. And for buyers who will rely on a mortgage to finance a home purchase, an online lender could provide them with that advantage.

Technology-based (or fintech) lenders have quickly expanded their market share since the Great Recession, and along the way they have developed efficiencies that give them a major advantage over more traditional lenders, according to a new working paper from researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and New York University, distributed Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In short, these lenders are faster in processing loans, more adept at handling fluctuations in demand and tend to see fewer loans go into default.

The study classified a company as a “fintech” lender if a borrower could get a loan pre-approval based on a hard credit check online without interacting with a loan officer.

In 2010, these lenders originated just $34 billion in mortgages, representing 2% of the market. By December 2016, their market share had grown to 8%, or $161 billion in originations. Much of that growth came through Federal Housing Administration loans, which are generally given to borrowers with lower incomes who cannot afford large down payments, and refinances.

Here’s what the study found:

  • Fintech lenders reduced the time it takes to process a loan by roughly 10 days as compared with the average processing time for mortgages. For refinances, theyre nearly 15 days faster than more traditional lenders.
  • In instances where…