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Mortgage Branch News | Net Branch | Mortgage Branch Directory
Coverage of new and existing net branch operations. Programs, payouts and other details. Profiles of brokers and net branch lawsuits.


Mortgage Firms Expand Branch Systems

Recent mortgage branch activity

April 20, 2012

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily


portrait of Sam Garcia

Mortgage bankers are enhancing retail presence through the addition of local branches. While much of the activity involves employees recruited to work at a new branch, some firms instead recruit entire existing branches.

Cendera Funding National Sales Director Steve Hakes said in a recent telephone interview that the Fort Worth, Texas-based company has limited its recruitment efforts to branches that originate at least $3 million. Internet marketing for branch recruitment has been curtailed in favor of direct marketing.

"What I've seen evolve over the last three years specifically is ... the old model of P&L branches is kind of going away," Hakes said.

He said the old model presents too many regulatory issues, and Cendera has instead focused on retail branch growth where managers are compensated based on branch production and not based on profit and loss. The new approach avoids branch managers who recruit anyone they can get in order to improve their base for overrides.

Hakes said that loan originator compensation has had a major impact on branch operators.

Jackie James is the manager of a new Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc. branch in Pleasanton, Calif., a news release said. REMN says it employs 600 people in more than 40 retail offices.

In January, REMN announced the opening of a Burlington, Vt., location. Matt Hemphill is the area manager in charge of the branch. A Dallas retail location managed by Joe Greiner was opened a month earlier, while the opening of a Denver branch managed by Cathy Stroud was announced just prior to the Dallas launch.

Five new branches were opened late last year in Alabama by Supreme Lending. Loan production from the new branches moves at an annual pace of $500 million.

PrimeLending said last month that it opened a branch in Palm Desert, Calif. Former Bank of America Home Loans manager Randy Florence is managing the new branch.

An Oak Harbor, Wash., branch opening was announced in January by Pinnacle Mortgage Planning. Fred Chamberlain was named manager.

A Fort Collins, Colo., branch was opened by Kirkland, Wash.-based Cobalt Mortgage, an April 10 news release indicated. Branch manager Eric Engel has reportedly spent 20 years in mortgage banking.

Three Scottsdale, Ariz., branches of V.I.P. Mortgage were recently merged, according to an April 17 statement.

V.I.P., which is based in Scottsdale, said earlier this month that it recently added more than a dozen "producers" to its Tucson, Ariz., branch. The branch now employs 35 people including 17 loan originators. Projected volume this year is nearly $200 million, while the branch closed $113 million in 2011.

V.I.P. says it employs 212 people and operates 14 branches.

A new office in Wichita, Kan., is the first of 12 retail branch openings planned this year by Foundation Financial Group. The dozen openings are in the Midwest and the Mid Atlantic. The Wichita office is being managed by Bobbi Jo Dixon.

Two offices in Missouri, one in Maryville and one in St. Charles, were opened by Gateway Mortgage Group. Former MetLife Home Loans branch manager John P. Kroot has been recruited to run the office in Maryville, which is in the St. Louis area. Craig Wania, who left his job as a loan originator for First State Bank of St. Charles, was hired as the St. Charles office manager.

Gateway says it operates 50 retail branches in 25 states.

Brandy Schulz is the branch manager of a new Tupelo, Miss., branch of Churchill Mortgage announced on April 2. The 12-year veteran reportedly was recognized as a million-dollar producer at her prior employer, Wells Fargo.

A mortgage banking office in Rochester, Mich., was opened by Bingham Farms, Mich.-based Main Street Bank, according to a March 5 statement.

Pennsylvania branches were opened in West Chester and Langhorne by GMH Mortgage, according to a March 12 announcement. GMH, itself, is based in Newtown Square, Pa.

America's Choice Home Loans has beefed up its franchise in New Jersey with the January opening of an office in Bayville and the December opening of an East Brunswick branch. Monique LaValette is managing the Bayville location, while Mark Silverberg is in charge at the other branch.

A new office was opened in Largo, Md., by George Mason Mortgage. A news release Tuesday indicated that Shawn Williams, will manage the branch.

George Mason also announced that its Frederick, Md., office was being expanded and relocated. Tom McLister is the branch manager.

A grand opening ceremony for a Savannah, Ga., branch was jointly held on Feb. 29 by WR Starkey Mortgage LLP and the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. Christy Soukhamneut will manage 16 professionals in the branch.

Howard Vernick issued a news release indicating that he is the branch manager of South Florida locations of Paramount Residential Mortgage Group. Vernick, who claims to be a 23-year veteran, noted that PRMG is based in Corona, Calif.


Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Prior to his news career he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

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