Making Moves

The smart lender is not sitting around. They are making moves and they are succeeding. Lenders can win in this market.

For example, Reverse Mortgage Lending, Inc., a San Diego–based HECM provider, ended 2017 with record growth and received top honors from partner Liberty Home Equity Solutions. Reverse Mortgage Lending CEO Collin Knock attributed the growth to his team and credits them for earning Liberty’s Top TPO Sales Producer award for the final quarter of 2017.

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The fourth quarter Top TPO Sales Producer award from Liberty Home Equity Solutions recognizes Reverse Mortgage Lending as the highest volume seller from all of Liberty’s 500+ TPO brokers nationwide.

According to Bill Nolan, Correspondent & Affinity Sales Leader at Liberty Home Equity Solutions, the “business model was clearly well thought out and managed aggressively.” Nolan also noted that Reverse Mortgage Lending’s “volume generated in Q4 would approximate to top 15 in national volume for TPOs and top 5 for [marketing] strategy.”

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Nolan went on to praise the company for their rapid expansion: “We are really impressed with the growth and impact resulting from [the] reverse mortgage marketing strategy…Combining effective marketing followed by a professionally staffed team of loan advisors is not new, but exceptional execution is rare. Additionally, your processing and production teams are among our best executors we work with. Your team generates loan pull through that we don’t often see.”

Mr. Knock also outlined his vision for the future, noting that “We’re very proud of our accomplishments and now we’ve proven that we’re a force in the industry. We’re projecting strong continued growth using our existing strategies and we’re currently expanding into other areas of market share.”

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Similarly, Planet Home Lending, LLC, a national residential mortgage lender, has opened its first retail-lending branch in Denver, Colorado. The branch will serve the needs of individuals in the area looking to buy or refinance a home. It will be managed by mortgage industry veterans Derrick Strauss (NMLS ID#294753) and Wes Tool (NMLS ID#24210). The two have nearly 40 years of combined mortgage experience.

“I expect the Denver community will be very pleased to have access to Planet Home Lending, as the company offers the loans homeowners here need,” Strauss said. “Planet Home Lending offers everything from low down-payment FHA and USDA mortgages for first-time homebuyers right up to million-dollar home loans with no mortgage insurance for move-up buyers. We also have a lot of experience working with armed services members who want to take advantage of their VA home loan benefits.”

Planet Home Lending offers competitive rates and fees on home loans to borrowers who fall outside the standard credit box. “We now have home loans and refinance loans for self-employed people, business owners, retirees, real estate investors, and those who’ve suffered bankruptcy or foreclosure,” Tool said.

“Strauss and Tool are the perfect industry experts to manage Planet Home Lending’s expansion into Denver,” said Mike Lee, Planet Home Lending’s senior vice president of national production. “They’re a dynamic team known for delivering value to homeowners.”

The Denver branch will also include loan officers Daniel Brennan (NMLS #558900), Fabbiana Progar (NMLS ID#1611684), and Joshua Saenz (NMLS ID#1518029), aided by loan officer assistants Darlene Zbanek (NMLS ID#695674) and Jaren Thomas (NMLS ID#518500).

Founded in 2007, Planet Home Lending is a privately held, national residential mortgage lender with multiple business channels uniquely positioned to provide competitive products and services. The company is an approved originator and servicer for FHA, VA, and USDA as well as a Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Seller/Servicer, and a full Ginnie Mae Issuer and approved sub-servicer.

Smart lenders aren’t just seeing record growth and adding new branches, they are also adding whole new business lines. For example, LD Holdings Group, LLC, parent company of loanDepot, the nation’s second largest non-bank consumer lender, has continued its expansion beyond its profitable mortgage and personal loan businesses. In Q1, a newly formed venture, mello Home, will connect pre-approved homebuyers with verified real estate agents in their local market, and help consumers find and hire home improvement and other pros.

“We first created the mello brand as a name for our proprietary technology platform which redefines fintech from simply streamlining the loan process to a blended digital/local relationship covering all aspects of consumer lending and homeownership,” said Anthony Hsieh, Founder and CEO of loanDepot. “Now we are expanding the mello brand.”

When launched, mello enabled three foundational strategies: (1) consumers can run any mortgage or nonmortgage loan from application through funding from any device on their own or alongside local loan consultants who can advise and co-pilot throughout the process, (2) loan consultants licensed in all 50 states can seamlessly respond and advise in real time to the millions of consumers the company sources digitally, and (3) analytics on customers’ evolving needs throughout their home buying and owning lifecycle.

This new launch of mello Home builds on this foundation by adding local real estate agents nationwide to the platform. Consumers have come to trust and expect single brands for most of their needs in areas like retail, and the mello brand will meet the same consumer expectation1 for most of their needs in housing.

“As America’s digital marketing leader in the homeownership space, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars to connect with homebuying consumers each year, and increasingly, these home shoppers are not yet working with a real estate agent,” said Hsieh. “mello Home unleashes our digital marketing power to real estate agents by connecting them with homebuyers who’ve been pre-approved by loanDepot’s local loan consultants and are ready to shop and close with a local real estate agent.”

mello Home’s service is free for consumers, and helps real estate agents grow business more efficiently. Typically agents buy home purchase leads up front and spend months working with customers who might never buy a home with them. mello Home gives agents ready-to-transact customers who’ve received credit and digital underwriting pre-approvals from experienced local loanDepot loan consultants, and have requested to be connected with a local real estate agent to start the process of purchasing a home. Agents pay no up-front fees to join the mello Home network or to be connected with ready-to-transact clients, and they agree to a pay a fee to mello Home on closed transactions.

“Because all real estate is local, not all housing disruption is digital,” said Hsieh. “It’s about matching home buyers and owners with trusted local pros and relevant services throughout their homeownership journey. mello’s proprietary technology and local teams serve the trend2 of Americans researching real estate services online and closing with local pros.”

As this digital/local trend matures in housing, the company will launch new mello businesses.

Later this year, the company will launch a home improvement business to meet increasing demand3 for home repairs and upgrades.

The mello home improvement business will serve two primary functions: (1) immediate approval of home improvement loans up to $75,000 and seamless introduction to verified contractors, and (2) contractors can use mello technology and proprietary digital underwriting to offer financing at their point of sale, so when they propose a project to a homeowner, they can offer financing in real time.

For homeowners, mello lets them begin with a contractor first or financing first, then finish home improvements fast. For contractors, mello gives them point-of-sale financing and brings them more project-ready customers who’ve been pre-approved by loanDepot loan officers.

About The Author

Tony Garritano

Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at tony@progressinlending.com.