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When Beltona, Fla.,-resident Joe Arroyo decided he needed a loan to build a new house, he hit a brick wall. Arroyo was working as a network engineer in Maryland and couldn't get to Florida banks during their operating hours. He didn't have time to shop around, Arroyo was worried that he wouldn't be able to get a good loan rate because of it.
Then his wife heard an advertisement on the radio for an online mortgage company that allowed users to have banks bid for their loans.
Arroyo tried it. Less than two weeks after he got online to look into the site, MortgageBid.com, he and his wife closed on a loan for their new house.
"It saved me a lot of …