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Lenders One Names Michael Kuentz CEO

Lenders One Cooperative, a national alliance of independent  mortgage bankers, announced that Michael Kuentz has been promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Lenders One by its Board of Directors. Mr. Kuentz previously held the title of President. In his new role, he will assume responsibility for Lenders One’s day-to-day operations and strategic execution as well as continue to lead and manage the cooperative’s sales effort.

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“Michael and I have worked closely over these past two years and I could not be more pleased with his promotion,” said Bryan Binder, Lenders One’s outgoing CEO. “The state of our cooperative is extremely strong, and our value proposition and opportunity set are both as attractive as they have been in many years. This strength combined with our incredibly talented management team gives me great confidence that the future of the cooperative has never been brighter and the timing is right for Michael to take the helm.”

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“As independent mortgage bankers in today’s environment, it is essential to come together, collaborate on innovation, share resources and reduce expenses,” added . “of independent mortgage bankers and the market leader in innovation, Lenders One is always looking for new ways to deliver value to our members. I am highly confident that Michael will continue to be a strong leader both for Lenders One and across the mortgage industry.”

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Mr. Kuentz has 20 years of sales and management experience in the mortgage industry and, since joining the cooperative two years ago, has led the Lenders One sales team. During this period, Lenders One has seen exceptional growth, and Mr. Kuentz has played an integral role in helping to deliver creative solutions for the cooperative’s members, preferred vendors and investors.

Prior to joining Lenders One, Mr. Kuentz served in senior roles for Equifax, Inc. (NYSE: EFX), including Senior Vice President of Verification Services and Senior Vice President of Mortgage Services. Mr. Kuentz joined Equifax in 2001 as part of its acquisition of Rapid Reporting where he was a partner.

Vendor Names New CEO

ClosingCorp, a provider of residential real estate closing cost data and technology for the mortgage and real estate services industries, announced today that Bob Jennings has been named as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.

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Jennings was previously executive vice president of RealEC Technologies a division of Black Knight Financial Services, the industry leader in web-based technology solutions designed to support lenders’ loan quality programs, minimize loan repurchase risk and drive efficiencies in the mortgage transaction process. During his tenure, RealEC streamlined operations and grew revenues exponentially, moving from a niche player in 2006 to an industry utility leveraged by the top mortgage lenders in the U.S.

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“Bob has exactly the management, sales and operational experience we were seeking and a history of identifying opportunities, cultivating partnerships, building effective teams, and closing groundbreaking agreements, that Closing Corp needs at this juncture” said Staffan Encrantz, chairman of the board of ClosingCorp. “He possesses a rare team building capability and entrepreneurial spirit, that together with his strong customer orientation and negotiating abilities has the potential to generate significant revenue growth. We are very excited that Bob has agreed to join ClosingCorp, and we very much look forward to working with Bob as he takes over the leadership of ClosingCorp and its development.”

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Jennings said, “I’m thrilled to be joining the company at such an important time. ClosingCorp is an innovator in rate and fee management and a company that is forging the way to become the ultimate utility,” said Jennings. “With new technology offerings and the opportunity to expand ClosingCorp’s footprint, the company is on a clear path toward unparalleled success. I am honored to lead the organization on this journey.”

Jennings, 43, began his career with IBM Corporation in finance before moving into sales and sales management. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration, Villanova University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), University of Florida – Warrington College of Business.

My Advice To CEOs

CEOs are people, too. They need help and advise just like everyone else. Why you might ask? In the article entitled “Why CEOs Need A Triangle Of Trusted Advisors” the author suggests that the value in peer advisory comes from interacting with peers who aren’t navigating their individual agendas but rather sharing their diverse viewpoints and advice for the benefit of other members and the entire group. Vistage groups discuss each member’s issue in a structured process led by expert facilitators who also provide individual coaching to each member.

Move Beyond Your Ceiling

Executive coaches provide that one-on-one guidance to help you resolve conflict and manage effectively through tough situations. Often, CEOs neglect this valuable resource. In a 2013 study of 200 CEOs, board directors, and senior executives of North American public and private companies by Stanford University and The Miles Group, almost 100% of CEOs stated that they are receptive to making changes based on feedback. Yet, nearly 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches.

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Alicia Marie, founder of People Biz, a coaching and training organization, said that the number one reason people decide to engage a coach is that they hit a personal development ceiling. A moment occurs when they are stuck, when they realize they must change in order to be successful. “That can happen because your entire team of 12 just walked out on you, or you just sold $1 million in product and can’t fund it,” Marie said. “It can be due to major success or major issues.” Either way, the person acknowledges that they will have to grow to deal with the circumstance.

Alicia Marie notes that the biggest challenge is always people. “I’ve seen people with all sorts of resources fail because they weren’t paying attention to the people. Anyone can be successful by him- or herself. But can you get another person to his or her optimum level? That takes skill. Until leaders and managers can do that, they’re at a disadvantage. Companies that do that will have a huge advantage. That’s where coaching comes in.”

Fortify the Business

While utilizing a peer advisory group and coach will expand and reinforce the CEO’s platform, the organization often needs an expert to fortify its foundation. Enter the organizational operating system, a program to develop the processes and structure necessary to scale up. Craig Cummings, co-founder of Ridescout, the mobile app for real-time ground transportation, utilized the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to help his team inject operational structure, accountability, a smart dashboard, and other processes when they were rapidly building the company.

Build Your Trusted Triangle

Every CEO faces an individual set of struggles on the path to organizational and personal growth. Consider the following circumstances to align your business and yourself with a triangle of trusted advisors:

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>> You feel isolated from other leaders who’ve walked in your shoes and would like to leverage their wisdom to help you take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Explore a peer advisory group such as EO, Vistage, TAB, et al.)

>>You see the value in someone who pushes you to achieve your best and problem-solve thorny issues. (Search for a coach by asking your extended network for referrals.)

Your organization lacks a coherent vision and core values, needs smarter metrics, can’t resolve tough issues, and lacks productive meetings and accountability. (Consider an operating system such as EOS, Ownership Thinking or Six Disciplines.

This type of expertise is valued by executives when making decisions. Executive leaders look to make informed decisions based on more than just “internal knowledge”; they seek information from trusted external resources. Fact based research, viability assessment, target market segmentation, and competitive analysis all provide a detailed view of potential opportunities, risks and rewards specifically developed for your organization.

As a trusted business advisor, NexLevel leverages years of experience in business strategy, corporate performance, strategic selling, and marketing to deliver customized solutions that help our clients take advantage of their unique business opportunities.

About The Author

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Michael Hammond

Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at mhammond@nexleveladvisors.com.

Default Services Provider Gets New CEO

Exceleras, creators of the DispoSolutions REO management platform and the ValueSolutions enterprise collateral valuation management technology, announced today that industry veteran Michael Harris has joined the firm and will serve as president and Chief Executive Officer. Harris has been consulting with the firm for several months, developing strategic direction and working on a new product set and a general rebrand for the successful software development company.

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Exceleras, formerly Default Servicing Technologies, became a leading firm during the foreclosure crisis, when lenders, servicers and asset management firms sought out software to help them manage the property valuation and disposition processes. Today, Harris plans to take the company to the next step in its evolution.

“Today’s primary market participants, lenders and servicers, now have access to solid software that meets their most pressing needs and we are proud to be a solution provider for that sector,” Harris said. “It’s the secondary market that also needs our support today. Our ability to provide customized software through a consultative and collaborative process is making us a good partner for capital markets firms that can benefit from access to a boutique, high powered technology environment.”

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Harris previously owned his own quality assurance consulting firm Jennick, LLC, where he provided a range of services designed to help mortgage servicers establish and maintain best practices. Before that he served as President of Carrington Property Services, President at Stewart Asset Recovery, and Vice President in charge of Operation for First American REO Servicing.

“Our primary market segment going forward will be investors who lack the powerful technologies required for success in today’s real estate market,” Harris said. “There are firms in our industry today who would benefit greatly by having a single solution like Exceleras which can provide end to end technology from portfolio acquisition to disposition. We can show them software solutions that will change their worlds.”

Lender Promotes President To CEO

Envoy Mortgage, a Houston-based mortgage bank conducting business through its nationwide retail locations, correspondent lending channel and in-house loan servicing operation, announced that its president, Patrick Walden, has been named president and CEO.  Rick Thompson, who served as CEO of Envoy for six years, remains an owner of the company.

Walden and Thompson joined the company in 2008 in connection with their acquisition of ownership interests in the company and have led Envoy under a dual leadership structure since 2011.  Dana Gompers and David Zugheri, co-founders of the company (previously named First Houston Mortgage) retain ownership interests in Envoy and are active in the day-to-day management of the company.

“I am very confident in our future and committed to our success,” said Walden.  “Envoy is well-positioned for this change.  It comes at a time when all of our business channels are growing impressively and gathering momentum. Recruiting is robust, our associates are engaged and positive, and our financial foundation is very strong,” he said.

Lender Gets New CEO

Let’s face it, this industry is all about people. So, in this case PROGRESS wants to tell you that WDB Funding, LLC has appointed Andrew Pollock as the firm’s President and Chief Executive officer. Pollock brings with him 25 years of experience heading large scale lending operations. In his role, Pollock will be responsible for providing the day-to-day leadership, operational management and execution on the strategic direction of the company.

“The National Private Lending market is grossly underserved and WDB Funding fills the extensive gaps in today’s financing environment,” Pollock said. “The industry has an extended demand for common sense lending for Alternative Financing, Equity Lending and Non-Traditional products and programs. I am thrilled to become a part of WDB Funding.”

Pollock has an extensive background and experience within the financial services industry that includes a Managing Partner capacity at Global Logic Advisors, and President and CEO of First Franklin (a Merrill Lynch Company). Pollock also served as Co-CEO at Rushmore Loan Management and before that, as the President and CAO of First California Mortgage Company.

“We are ecstatic to have Andrew join the WDB Funding team at the top of the house,” commented Joseph D’Urso, managing partner, WDB Funding. “Given Andrew’s proven track record for building, expanding and directing financial services organizations, we see nothing but opportunity for the future of WDB Funding.”

WDB Funding, LLC is a direct national Private Money Lender on Commercial and Residential Properties that provides fast and flexible asset-based lending to borrowers that do not meet today’s limited conventional requirements and underwriting guidelines.

About The Author

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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.

On The Move: New Hires Combine Technology And Experience

*New Hires Combine Technology And Experience*
**Expertise Matters**

***Would you hire a pastry chef to prepare the main meal at your next party? Probably not. It may turn out okay and it may be a hit, but most likely the pastry chef can’t prepare a grand meal for your big party the way a world-class catering service would. The same applies in the world of mortgages. When you want something done right, you need to hire an expert. Two new hires exemplify a strategy whereby more and more companies in our space are looking for quality staff. Here’s the scoop:

****First, ISGN has named Ritesh Idnani its new chief executive officer. Idnani succeeds Krishna Srinivasan, founder, CEO and vice chairman of ISGN, who will continue as a member of the board and will remain executive vice chairman of the company. Idnani joins ISGN from Infosys BPO Limited, an Infosys Group company, where he served as chief operating officer and senior vice president. In six fiscal years, from 2005 to 2011, Idnani grew Infosys BPO’s revenues from $40 million to approximately $500 million annually, with the highest operating margins in the global business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

****“Ritesh is a superb choice to lead ISGN to its next phase of growth and development,” said Shyam Bhartia, chairman of the board at ISGN. “Along with his proven track record and immense experience, Ritesh brings on board tremendous strengths in growing multiple businesses organically as well as inorganically, which coupled with his global exposure and success with great companies will be a perfect complement to ISGN’s all-star team and its mortgage industry expertise. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Krishna for his vision, leadership and outstanding contribution that have built ISGN into an industry leader. We are happy that he will continue to serve as executive vice chairman.”

****“Over the last five years, ISGN has been built to be the service provider of choice for our customers,” Srinivasan said. “ISGN will now need to enable its customers to adapt to the industry reconfiguration and garner additional market share. I am excited and confident that adding Ritesh will truly empower us to be the transformational partner of choice to our customers.”

****Idnani sees it as a propitious time to join ISGN. “I am very enthusiastic to join the ISGN leadership team and help scale the business to the next level,” Idnani said. “The mortgage industry has been through significant changes with the regulatory environment, the reconfiguration of market participants, the need to maintain operational excellence and the ever-expanding role of technology.”

****Second, Renee Deane has been named executive vice president, operations at Carrington Property Services. In this new position, Renee will direct the growth of the company’s REO rental business. A 25-year industry veteran with extensive experience in the financial services industry, Renee currently oversees Carrington’s national rental division, which operates in more than 40 states. She has developed and maintained relationships with global investment banks, GSEs and large institutional investors, and has a proven track record of developing and automating operational efficiencies to achieve positive financial results.

****“Renee has excelled in managing and enhancing the national rental programs we operate for Fannie Mae, in addition to bringing on major new clients, while managing our own portfolio of properties,” stated Michael Harris, president of Carrington Property Services. “Our plan to expand these rental programs requires someone with the knowledge and experience that Renee offers, and we believe she’s very well qualified to help us meet our business objectives.”

****Prior to joining Carrington in 2010, Renee served as executive vice president of operations/chief credit officer for Nations Direct Mortgage, where she tripled origination volume within six months. She was responsible for all areas of origination up to and including ensuring that all loans originated were sold on the secondary market and insured by HUD. Renee is a sought-after speaker at mortgage banking and investment banking conferences in the U.S. and abroad, and has participated on several advisory boards as well.

****“We’re very happy to have someone with Renee’s experience and expertise managing such a strategically important aspect of our business,” said Bruce Rose, chief executive officer of Carrington Holding Company, the parent company of Carrington Property Services. “Being able to manage the rental of thousands of single family homes in geographically diverse locations poses serious operational challenges, and we’re lucky to have someone in place to effectively manage these challenges.”

On The Move: Lenders One Names New CEO

*Lenders One Names New CEO*
**A New Chief Executive Takes Charge**

***Lenders One, a national alliance of community mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services, has named Jeffrey R. McGuiness as its new CEO. McGuiness assumes this position after former CEO and co-founder, Scott Stern, announced last month he would leave the company to pursue other entrepreneurial opportunities.

****McGuiness has more than two decades of experience in the financial industry, with particular emphasis in building correspondent, retail and direct to consumer operations. Most recently, McGuiness was executive vice president of consumer banking and originations at St. Louis-based Aurora Bank, managing the bank’s consumer deposit and mortgage business units. Prior to joining Aurora, he was executive vice president of direct-to-consumer lending at American Home Mortgage. McGuiness also was with CitiMortgage for seven years in multiple senior management positions, including managing director of correspondent lending.

****“I am confident that Jeff’s extensive experience in mortgage operations will serve him well as he guides Lenders One into the future,” said departing CEO Scott Stern. “Jeff will build on the success of Lenders One and constantly strive to find new and innovative ways to offer our members the services and products they need to succeed.”

****After a thorough search, McGuiness was selected based on his comprehensive industry experience and demonstrated leadership skills. “I cannot think of a better choice than Jeff to lead Lenders One through these complex and challenging times,” said Lenders One Advisory Board member Stephen M. Calk, Chairman and CEO of Kansas-based National Bancorp Holdings, a member of the cooperative. “The combination of his correspondent, retail, investor, secondary market and regulatory experience is unparalleled. Jeff’s leadership experience and acute understanding of the needs of our members and the demands of today’s investors will be critical to the success of our cooperative now and in the future.”

****Lenders One was established in 2000 as a national alliance of mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders and suppliers of mortgage products and services. The St. Louis-based company originated more than $106 billion in mortgages in 2011 and is ranked as one of the largest retail mortgage originators in the U.S. Its mortgage productivity system additionally allows members to close more loans, satisfy continuing education requirements and market themselves more powerfully. Lenders One, now more than 220 lender members strong, is a subsidiary of Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A.