*Lenders Combine To Succeed*
**By Tony Garritano**
***loanDepot.com, LLC and imortgage.com have signed of a definitive agreement to create a new combined entity that will rank as the third largest private, independent retail mortgage lender in the nation. loanDepot has quickly grown since its launch in 2010 to become one of the largest consumer direct mortgage lenders in the U.S. imortgage is an established leader in the purchase mortgage market, with a strong real estate agent and builder platform and a successful 14-year track record.
****The partnership will result in a diversified origination platform with strength in both purchase-focused, branch-based retail operations, and centralized, consumer direct lending. Together, the companies represent more than $15 billion in annualized origination volume, a balanced portfolio of refinance lending and purchase lending, and a fast growing servicing business.
****“Continued growth of independent mortgage lenders is vital to the recovery of the housing market. The combination of loanDepot and imortgage marries the complementary capabilities of both organizations to form what is arguably one of the best positioned lenders of the post-crisis mortgage industry,” said loanDepot CEO and Founder Anthony Hsieh. “The collective financial strength and broad distribution capabilities create a unique platform that will effectively serve large and growing segments of the market.”
****imortgage is a retail lender with 56 branches and a strong purchase-focused business fueled by an established real estate agent and home builder platform. Joining forces with loanDepot will accelerate imortgage’s aggressive national growth plans by leveraging loanDepot’s 50 state footprint, competitive pricing, servicing capabilities, and direct agency approvals with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.
****With the diversified distribution of loanDepot and imortgage, the company is positioned to effectively respond to the preferences of borrowers, with strength in high-touch, branch-based lending, online and centralized call centers. loanDepot will continue to expand its centralized consumer direct business, including providing fulfillment services to affinity partners seeking to leverage loanDepot’s turnkey application-to-funding capabilities.
****“Today we announced a new partnership with a highly respected and dynamic business partner, loanDepot. The combined company offers a strong consumer direct mortgage business via loanDepot, coupled with imortgage’s 14-year heritage of successful retail and builder business – creating an overall platform that is poised to deliver incredible value to current and future homeowners,” said imortgage President, Dean Bloxom.
****The combined entity will have a 50 state license footprint, 60 branches, and a talent base of more than 2,200 employees, including more than 700 licensed loan consultants. Hsieh will retain his role as Chairman and CEO, with imortgage retaining its brand name and continuing under the existing leadership of President Dean Bloxom and COO Jay Johnson.
****The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approval.