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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.

The Branch Journal

Mortgage firms root branch systems in local markets

Sept. 17, 2012

By AIMEE BROWN Mortgage Daily

With current economic conditions dictating little to no job growth or corporate expansion, the mortgage banking industry is pushing against the national trend. Several firms are expanding their nationwide, retail presence by opening new branches in local markets, and a few firms report significant growth in the markets where existing offices have taken root.

While most expansion activity includes new branch openings and employee recruitment, Gateway Mortgage Group announced its May acquisition of an existing retail branch in Omaha, Neb. Previously part of the MetLife retail branch network, this newest Gateway addition provides the company with its largest branch. Kent Geschwender, former branch manager with MetLife Home Loans, will lead the eight-person loan officer team.

"We knew it was important to align ourselves with a lender that shared the same core values we deliver to our borrowers every day," Geschwender said. "Gateway's business principles were a natural fit for us and allow us to enhance our borrower's experience through the life of their loan."

In a July 11 news release, America's Choice Home Loans, LP announced the addition of a new retail origination branch office in Morristown, N.J. This office marked the company's fourth branch office for New Jersey. Steve Scarfo was appointed branch manager for the Morristown office. Additionally, Scarfo will serve as ACHL's New Jersey state manager.

While Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. didn't announce any new retail branches, the mortgage firm did reveal its corporate brand refresh in a July 11 media statement. Dave Zitting, president and CEO of PRMI, said the brand refresh better reflects the company's mission and core values aimed at helping PRMI's clients in their pursuit of home ownership.

Wisconsin-based Inlanta Mortgage saw significant expansion, according to a May 8 media report. The company named new branch managers to each of its three new office locations. Laura Leonard was appointed to Marshfield, Wis., Yvette Clemont was placed at De Pere, Wis., and Daniel Palmer received Schaumburg, Ill.

Gateway Mortgage Group also entered the south Houston market with a new retail branch, according to a Jun. 27 news release. Teri Treadway will manage this Matagorda, Texas, office. Treadway most recently served as a branch manager with Cornerstone mortgage before joining Gateway.

Earlier this month, Private National Mortgage Acceptance Company LLC reported it would open a new facility in Pasadena, Calif., so its subsidiary, PennyMac Loan Services, could expand its direct mortgage lending initiatives and operations. Stephen Brandt, managing director of retail production, will oversee the facility, which will take up almost 21,000 square feet and eventually house 85 to 100 employees. On Sept. 8, PennyMac held a job fair at this new location in search of loan officers, processors, openers and underwriters to support the company's consumer growth.

K.C. Shannon will serve as branch manager to Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp's newest office in Pooler, Ga., according to an Aug. 24 media brief. With her three-person, loan officer team, Shannon's group will focus on the Pooler, Richmond Hill, Savannah and Effingham County area.

Privately held Cobalt Mortgage opened two branch offices and geared up its efforts to open two more offices in recent months. Cobalt Mortgage's July 17 news release listed Paula Bonney as branch manager for the company's office that will launch in Dallas. Oregon's Pearl District or East Portland area was slated to house the mortgage firm's newest office in the state, according to a June 18 media brief. With over 28 years of residential mortgage experience in this region, Mark Holzmann was appointed branch manager of the new location.

As well, an April 10 press statement reported that Cobalt Mortgage made its debut in the Colorado market by placing a new office in Fort Collins, naming Eric Engel the branch manager, and appointing Nancy Smith the regional manager. Then, just two months later, a June 13 announcement states the company opened a second office in Colorado Springs, Colo., for its sophomoric debut. Colorado Springs' branch manager Suzanna Mattson will serve under Smith's regional guidance.

BluFi Lending opened a Walnut Creek, Calif., office, the company's third California-based office, according to a July 17 press statement. With branch manager Mario Vargas at the helm of this 5,000 square foot space, a team of mortgage bankers, loan processors and back office staff will cater to BluFi's increasing client base.

Early June saw V.I.P. Mortgage expand its southwest presence to Albuquerque, N.M. The new Albuquerque office marks the company's entry into New Mexico, according to a June 5 media report. Branch manager Jim Bakhitiar will lead a three-person team out of V.I.P. Mortgage's flagship New Mexico office.

At May's end, Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc. reported the status of its Menlo Park Funding branch division. The company's MPF branch saw steady growth since it first launched two years ago. MPF started with 12 branches and has grown to 20 licensed branches as of the first quarter of 2012, an important milestone for this division.

In Baltimore, George Mason Mortgage opened a new office in May and named Brad Gibbons, a lifelong local resident, as the branch manager.

To expand its presence in The Woodlands, Texas, area, Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. opened a new Market Street branch location, according to a news report in the May 11 edition of The Houston Chronicle. The article lists branch manager Jason Higham and two mortgage loan originator new-hires as the employees the Market Street branch would accommodate.

Finally, Guaranteed Home Mortgage Co.'s April 25 announcement completes this update of recent mortgage branch activity. The company added a new Palm Beach County, Fla., office and appointed the branch manager position to Brian Biancardi. Biancardi listed access to the company's loan origination software as one of his reasons for joining Guaranteed Home Mortgage.

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