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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.

Managing Branch Options

Recent mortgage branch activity

July 5, 2011


portrait of Sam Garcia

Whether it is through the acquisition of local mortgage firms or from the development of new locations, mortgage bankers are adding branches. Three new branches are in Texas, while a Missouri firm is promoting the virtues of a franchise model over net branching.

JC Mier has become part of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. The Plano, Texas, branch will do business as Seagate Financial and extend its network of lenders in the process.

In the statement, Fairway Founder and Chief Executive Officer Steve Jacobson call Mier "a proven leader in the industry." Mier, meanwhile, said he was most impressed with Fairway's "quickness to respond" and wants to surround himself with Fairway's team.

A franchise branching model was unveiled last month by LenderCity. The program reportedly enables independent lenders to compete with bigger players while avoiding the net branch route. Up to 20 franchisees will be added this year, while another 40 will be available in 2012. No branches were in place as of June, though the company says it operates in four states.

Chesterfield, Mo.-based LenderCity, which had just five employees as of last month and closed nearly $0.1 billion during 2010, said that it had completed its Uniform Franchise Disclosure Document and plans to sell franchises nationwide. Unlike with a net branch model, the franchise business reportedly enables brokers to independently own and operate the branch, maintain the same identity and take advantage of a national marketing campaign.

LenderCity President and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Harris explained in a statement that the franchisee retains their licenses and operate as a DBA LenderCity.

"This way they maintain their business, which is totally different than the net branch concept where you relinquish your license and operations and become an employee of the firm," Harris said. "It is similar in nature to a real estate franchise such as Century 21 or Coldwell Banker. Since FHA no longer licenses mortgage brokers, they would be approved under sponsorship of their wholesale lenders."

The first branch in the state of Maine has been opened by America's Choice Home Loans. Joining the company to run the branch was Josh Gotlieb.

"We thank and appreciate Josh and the state of Maine for choosing us to do business with," America's Choice Director of National Production Jonathan Fowler said in a statement.

A month earlier, America's Choice announced that Chris Parrish would open a branch in Houston, and Apurva Sanghavi would open a branch in nearby Katy.

Pro Mortgage Branching Solutions ran a recent marketing campaign touting itself as a profitable way to get paid following the April 1 implementation of the loan originator compensation rule. Branch managers and "solid producers" are the target of the advertising by the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm.

Exceptionally competitive pricing and an expedited mortgage process are being touted by Frost Mortgage in marketing materials aimed at new recruits. Established production teams who join Frost are promised corporate administration assistance and help with licensing, compliance and marketing.

Frost said it credits branch earnings with 100 percent of "your banked loan revenue the day after the loan funds." Branch managers are reportedly given flexibility to set their branch margins, their own compensation plan and plans for their loan officers.

Mortgage branch operator Inlanta Mortgage announced its designation as a LendRIGHT member of Lenders One. The Brookfield, Wis.-based company says it has nearly 200 employees in 28 branches located throughout thirteen states.

Growing market share in the Boston area has Mortgage Master Inc. opening a new office in Medford, Mass. In a June 14 press release, the Walpole, Mass.-based lender said. Mortgage Master Founder and CEO Leif Thomsen said that the company is targeting markets "where we know we are dealing with a stable, reliable community of borrowers."

A Rockville, Md., branch was also opened by Mortgage Master, which reports $5.5 billion in 2010 production, and Brian Fein was appointed as manager of the new branch. Mortgage Master says that it "employs more of the top 200 loan officers in dollar volume than any other lender."

All-American Mortgage and its three California branches have joined Modesto, Calif.-based Bank of Commerce Mortgage. A staff of nearly 30 people at the branches is led by former All American partners Matt Crawford, Scott Crawford and Ralph Gresham.

"The decision to join Bank of Commerce Mortgage, therefore, made perfect sense, allowing us to provide our clients with the right loans, including conventional, home equity and government programs," Matt Crawford said in the news release. "The difference is that now we will be able to take advantage of Bank of Commerce Mortgage's convenient in-house resources for funding, underwriting, and technology."

Bank of Commerce said it also recently added three other California branches.

A new branch in Louisville, Ky., is being opened by Stonegate Mortgage Corp. Managing the new location is former Fifth Third Bank vice president Jonathan Boyd.

Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc. announced in June that it opened a branch in Wilmington, Del. The location services Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and the eastern shore of Maryland. Richard Pollock is serving as area manager.

Before that, it was a new REMN branch in Riverside, Calif., led by David Constantino. And prior to Riverside, a new office was opened in Carlsbad, Calif., and staffed with three new team members including branch manager Laurie Peterson. The River Edge, N.J.-based firm says it employs more than 600 people and originates in 30 states.

Teri Saldivar has been hired as the Los Gatos, Calif., branch manager for Absolute Mortgage Banking. The 30-year mortgage consultant "has owned and managed several of the largest mortgage firms in Santa Clara County." Absolute reports annual average production of $0.3 billion.

Apex, N.C.-based Prime Mortgage Lending announced last month the June 13 opening of a new branch in Bozeman, Mont. Carol Roy manages the branch.

A consumer mortgage origination loan office was opened in St Paul, Minn., by Mortgages Unlimited Inc., a June 15 statement said. Joe Metzler, a top producer at the firm and a 17-year industry veteran, is leading efforts at the new location.

Mortgage Broker News | Originator Newsletter
Stories about mortgage brokering and broker programs. Profiles of successful mortgage brokers. Articles about mortgage brokers who excel at other activities. Broker lawsuits and criminal broker activity.

Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Before that, he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

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