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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.

A Story Of Growth

As an industry observer, I thought that I should share stories about lenders that are growing these days, I learned that AmeriFirst Financial Corporation is expanding its footprint to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains with the opening of a new branch in Southern California. The branch is located in Rancho Cucamonga, a suburban city 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and serves as the first retail site for the independent mortgage lender in the state of California.

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It will operate as a full-service home loan center staffed by a total of 12 loan officers and a support team who will provide a full range of purchase and refinance loan options. These include conventional, FHA, VA and USDA loans, as well as AmeriFirst’s specialized products – renovation and construction mortgages.

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The new office is located at 12505 N. Main Street, Suite 260. It will operate under the name, “AmeriTrust Home Mortgage” to avoid confusion with Amerifirst Financial, Inc., who also operates in the southwest region.

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“We are excited to be working with the great folks in southern California as we continue to expand our reach in helping our neighbors achieve the American dream of home ownership,” said Mark Jones, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of AmeriFirst. “We are excited to offer our strong service proposition – high quality, high touch customer service – to residents of southern California. We also are committed to educating first-time homebuyers on the power of home ownership as a tool for building home equity and personal wealth and matching loan products that meet their individual needs.”

This expansion comes on the heels of the 35-year-old mortgage lender’s growth in central Florida in late 2017. At that time, it opened new branches in Winter Park and Tampa for a total of six full-service branches in the state. Headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, AmeriFirst employs over 600 team members and provides home financing opportunities for thousands of families each year, especially in rural and underserved communities and among first-time homebuyers. It operates in branches across nearly a dozen states in the Midwest and Southeast regions and was recently recognized by Inc. 5000 for its 78 percent growth over a three-year period.

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.

Castle & Cooke Mortgage Opens Escondido Branch

Castle & Cooke Mortgage, LLC, an independent mortgage lenders with locations across the U.S., announced the opening of its Escondido, CA branch (NMLS #309712). The new branch is led by industry veteran and San Diego County local Leslie Thomerson (NMLS #508360), who has 28 years of experience in the mortgage industry and understands the housing needs of Southern California well.

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“The opening of our Escondido branch is a great opportunity for Castle & Cooke Mortgage to address the particular needs of our clients in the San Diego area,” stated Art Della Rocca, regional manager for Castle & Cooke Mortgage. “Leslie has lived and worked in the region for many years, and maintains an outstanding professional reputation within the local real estate community. We couldn’t ask for a better person to lead our Escondido team.”

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Prior to joining Castle & Cooke Mortgage, Thomerson was a sales manager for both Freedom Mortgage and Stearns Lending. Her extensive background in the mortgage business has prepared Thomerson to lead the Escondido branch with professionalism and skill. She is committed to providing her clients with a smooth and streamlined borrowing experience, adhering to Castle & Cooke Mortgage’s standards of clear communication and transparency. Whether assisting a customer through their first home buying experience, or aiding a client through the process of obtaining a VA loan, Thomerson’s team is committed to meeting each borrower’s unique needs.

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“My team and I are very excited to be part of the community on Grand Avenue in Escondido,” said Thomerson. “We are looking forward to meeting our business and local real estate neighbors, and are eager to share our expertise.”

Thomerson can be reached at LThomerson@castlecookemortgage.com or at the Castle & Cooke Mortgage Escondido branch, located at 104 West Grand Avenue, A & B, Escondido, CA 92025.

Parkside Lending Expands In New York

Parkside Lending, LLC, a national wholesale and correspondent lender, announces the expansion into New York with the addition of Rich Bloom as North Eastern Regional Manager and Katie Plezia and Elizabeth Squillante Nichols as Senior Account Executives.

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Bloom has been in the mortgage business for 31 years, 24 as a Sales Manager, and will be covering the east coast from Virginia to Maine. His extensive network positions him well to help grow Parkside’s presence in the area. “I am pleased to join a company that gives me the opportunity to grow a region,” said Bloom. “And Parkside’s excellent service and commitment to their customers is worth expanding.”

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Plezia, another industry veteran, has 30+ years of mortgage experience in the NY market, receiving Top Performer and Chairman’s Club Winner awards during her tenure. And Nichols has over 20 years as a Wholesale and Correspondent Account Executive in downstate New York specializing in Jumbo, Conventional, FHA and VA loans. The two will be covering the New York Metro Area.

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“With such seasoned talent joining the team, Parkside is excited to bring our expertise and strong commitment to customer service to the NY Market,” said James Lamparter, EVP of Sales at Parkside.

Castle & Cooke Mortgage Opens CT Branch

Castle & Cooke Mortgage, an independent mortgage lenders with locations across the U.S., announced the opening of its Danielson, Connecticut branch (NMLS # 1458459). The new location expands the company’s footprint in the state and will complement the company’s sister branch in Columbia.

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The new branch is led by industry veteran and Danielson native, Todd A. Cooke (NMLS #1055106). Cooke has 15 years of experience in mortgage lending and real estate brokerage, offering personalized guidance and addressing the specific home-buying needs of his community. Cooke and his team provide a range of services from assisting first-time homebuyers as they make the leap from renting to owning, to supporting homeowners in their refinancing or renovation goals.

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“Assisting first-time homebuyers who need personalized guidance through the home buying process and buyers unsure of their options given their current credit situation, are my specialty,” said Cooke. “I take pride in simplifying the home buying process and providing all of the information a buyer should have to come to the best decision for their specific and individualized needs.”

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Cooke can be reached at TCooke@castlecookemortgage.com or at the Castle & Cooke Mortgage Danielson branch, located at 7 Center Street, Danielson, CT 06239.

Lender Ends 2016 On A High Note

Churchill Mortgage, a provider of conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 38 states, announced the addition of 24 new employees across its branches in Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

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In Brentwood, Tenn., Churchill welcomes Chris Spence as a home loan specialist, David Bruce as a mortgage planning specialist and Latrese Flowers as a closing coordinator. The branch also adds Zachary McCollum as an associate developer, Stephanie Rogers as a loan processor and Sean Lewis as a technical support specialist. In Herndon, Va., the lender adds Donna Haleand Salman Ahmad as senior loan processors, Lynda Marie StewartRobert Lewandowski and Robert Jenkins as home loan specialists and Annie Tang as an assistant processor.

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Cindy Robinson and Krista Northrop join Churchill’s Phoenix branch as a home loan specialist and loan processor, respectively, and Heather Manning and Lindsey Berry join in Grand Rapids, Mich. as home loan assistants. In Portland, Ore., the lender welcomes Nicole Cook as a home loan specialist and Ashley Davidson as an assistant processor. Churchill’s Dallas branch also welcomes William Brewer and Darren Edgar as home loan specialists. The lender also adds Kathy Rex as a home loan specialist in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Mara Coronado-Maller as a home loan specialist and Suzanne Moreton as a loan processor in Orange, Calif.; and Renee Shepherd as a home loan specialist in San Diego.      

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“The addition of these 24 mortgage professionals, combined with all of our successes this year, gives me a great deal of optimism about the state of the mortgage industry heading into 2017,” said Mike Hardwick, president of Churchill Mortgage. “Every single one of our employees is critical to our mission to serve borrowers with the heart of a teacher and their efforts will propel our ability to make homeownership achievable to families and individuals in communities across the country.”

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.

National Lender Expands In The Chicago Area

Mortgage Master, a national mortgage lender and division of loanDepot, LLC, announced today the expansion of their Northbrook office to better serve local borrowers with a broad suite of competitively priced lending products supported by excellent customer service. Along with the expansion of the Northbrook office, Mortgage Master also announced the promotion of Jorden Brok and Brett Lotsoff as co-managers of both the Northbrook and North River – Chicago branches.

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“In the short time that Jorden and Brett have been with Mortgage Master, their leadership and success in offering competitively priced financing options and excellent customer service has been exceptional,” said Mortgage Master President Paul Anastos. “Their dynamic leadership and knowledge is the perfect match for meet the growing demand for mortgage and nonmortgage productions throughout the entire Chicago market.”

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Both Brok and Lotsoff joined Mortgage Master in February of 2014 and share Mortgage Master’s commitment to personal attention and customer service. With nearly 30 years of experience, Brok is a seasoned lending professional licensed in five states. Lotsoff has over 20 years of experience in lending and is both a licensed loan officer and attorney.  These two senior executives will lead Mortgage Master’s expansion in the greater Chicago area as the preferred lender of choice for responsible borrowers and the employer of choice for financial professionals. Mortgage Master offers a broad range of product lines to accommodate most every lending need including personal, purchase, refinance, traditional, high-balance and jumbo loans.

Expansion Continues At Carrington

Carrington mortgage Services has opened four new branches in Warrenton, Virginia; Plano, Texas; Houston, Texas; and Fishers, Indiana; along with the appointment of Jeff Scannicchio as Senior Vice President of Mortgage Lending Operations. Carrington’s branch expansion initiatives and management appointments provide business development opportunities in each of these regions, while extending a wide range of product offerings and faster turn times to effectively meet market demands – particularly with respect to reaching and serving “underserved” borrowers (typically those in the sub-640 FICO score range). The company’s experienced managers named to lead Carrington’s new branches include: Jessica Furr in Warrenton; Mike Denton in Plano; Oliver de Boer in Houston; and Ryan Higley in Fishers.

Carrington’s newly appointed SVP Jeff Scannicchio will manage national operations for the Mortgage Lending Division and support the organization’s objectives in continuing to grow the operation’s functional capacity, efficiency and market share. Scannicchio, a proven senior executive financial services leader, has successfully demonstrated his leadership competencies in managing organizational development in increasingly competitive business environments throughout his career. He spent the last seven years with JP Morgan Chase & Company overseeing their U.S. Consumer Direct and Home Equity operations groups, as well as retail channel fulfillment covering the West and South regions of the country. Prior to Chase, Scannicchio held senior leadership positions for over 15 years with Citigroup, Associates First Capital Corporation and Fleet Financial Group, all of which were centered in the growth and management of operations fulfillment nationally across all distribution channels.

“We are pleased to announce that we’ve expanded into these additional markets, and welcome Jeff Scannicchio to our exceptional team of highly skilled financial services professionals,” said Ray Brousseau, Executive Vice President of Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC’s Mortgage Lending Division. “As we continue our trajectory of growth, we want to ensure that we are effectively meeting the needs of consumers in many markets throughout the U.S., as well as maturing our processes and systems to keep pace while maintaining our loan quality, and remaining sharply focused on servicing the underserved market. We are confident that our plans for continued branch expansion, and appointments like Jeff Scannicchio will effectively contribute to accomplishing these goals.”

An estimated one in three Carrington consumers has a FICO credit score below 650 according to industry experts. For these consumers, obtaining access to appropriate financing options can be a challenge – one that Carrington is uniquely equipped to handle due to the company’s ability to both originate quality loans and appropriately service them after the fact. While Carrington will continue to provide a wide breadth of product and support to borrowers across all ranges of the credit spectrum, the company will increase its attention and focus on providing service to that underserved segment of the market where it can make the most impact – and where its core competencies are obviously needed. To accelerate and further enhance its ability to give this market the attention it deserves, Carrington has lowered its minimum credit requirement to a FICO score of 550, and expanded its guidelines on a number of FHA, VA and USDA loan programs, extending eligibility to more property types and reducing overlays.

As advocates of borrower education and in support of the company’s commitment to meeting the needs of the underserved market, Carrington developed patent-pending MyLoanDetail, a proprietary online loan review resource designed to improve the financial literacy of its customers by walking every customer through the details of their loan. This education initiative will help to ensure borrower understanding of loan terms and responsibilities. Carrington will require all of its customers to complete the MyLoanDetail online education prior to funding

About The Author

[author_bio]

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.

Not Everyone Is Cutting Back

You Can Download This Full Article As A PDF HERE

We’ve heard a lot recently about layoffs and industry consolidation, but it is important to note that not every mortgage-related company is contracting. For example, NMI Holdings, the parent company of National Mortgage Insurance Corp. (National MI), has said that National MI’s application for an insurance license in Wyoming has been approved by the Wyoming Department of Insurance. With Wyoming’s approval, National MI is now licensed to write mortgage guaranty insurance in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

“We are pleased that National MI is able to provide mortgage insurance to lenders offering loans to borrowers in Wyoming,” said Bradley Shuster, president and chief executive officer of NMI Holdings, Inc. “The approval by the Wyoming Department of Insurance marks a significant milestone for National MI as we are now able to provide mortgage insurance in every state in the U.S., as well as the District of Columbia. We believe this is especially important to our customers who do business nationwide.”

By approving National MI as a licensed insurer in the state of Wyoming, National MI believes the Wyoming Department of Insurance is helping to expand the availability of mortgage financing, particularly for first-time homeowners who might not have a 20 percent down payment, Shuster noted. Private mortgage insurance is typically required on mortgages with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80 percent.

“National MI commends the Wyoming Department of Insurance for acknowledging the importance of private mortgage insurance and the role it plays in broadening home ownership opportunities for Americans,” Shuster said.

National MI received approval from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in January 2013.National MI, a subsidiary of NMI Holdings, Inc., is a U.S.-based, private mortgage insurance company enabling low down payment borrowers to realize home ownership while protecting lenders and investors against losses related to a borrower’s default.

Why do I bring this expansion up? To keep your spirits up. It’s important to for all of us active in the mortgage space to note that if we provide a valuable service, there is a healthy market out there ready to buy. It’s not all doom and gloom for industry visionaries that are actively paving a new path forward.

About The Author

[author_bio]

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.

Special Servicer Expands In Dallas

Fay Servicing. a special servicer that manages residential mortgages, announced that the company has opened an office in the Dallas metro to take advantage of the tremendous talent available in the region.

Fay Servicing’s staffing model is based on hiring former loan originators and leveraging their strengths via the its unique training program designed to transition them into special servicing account managers. These employees typically have extensive mortgage industry knowledge as well as the interpersonal skills to required to successfully engage borrowers and help find positive resolutions for troubled loans.

“As we grow, we continue to focus on hiring account managers who are natural problem solvers with exceptional mortgage industry expertise” said Ed Fay, chief executive officer of Fay Servicing. “Given the recent employment trends in the Dallas region, it was a perfect fit for executing our specialized approach of bringing strong originators into the servicing role while also enhancing our business continuity capabilities.”

Chicago, Ill.-based Fay Servicing is a special servicer which leverages its relationship-based servicing platform to optimize performance of residential loan portfolios for banking institutions and alternative real estate investors.