Mortgage banking firms are scooping up local branches at a healthy pace, and at least three of the branch recruiting operations are based in Houston. More than a thousand branch locations have been added to the national registry during the most-recent quarter.
As of the end of the third quarter, 18,466 branches were registered through the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry. NMLS registrations grew from 17,387 as of June 30. The most recent total worked out to an average of 1.1 registered branches per company. Including multiple jurisdictions that the branches were licensed in, total branch registrations stood at 28,322 at the end of the third quarter.
Houston-based America's Choice Home Loans LP said earlier this month that Matthew A. Krimm has joined the company to run a new branch in Rehoboth, Del., as state manager. The branch opened on Nov. 2.
Brian Slodki was hired as Illinois state manager and will also serve as branch manager of a new America's Choice office in the Chicago-suburb of Bartlett, according to an Oct. 24 statement. Slodki has spent 13 years in mortgage lending at "major lenders."
Two months ago, America's Choice opened a retail location in Houston, where the 12-year-old firm's headquarters office is located. Jim Patterson, a 13-year mortgage veteran who previously worked for Aapex Financial and Network Funding, is the branch manager of the new location.
Other locations where America's Choice recently opened branches include Monroe, Ga., which opened on Oct. 27 and is being managed by Denise Alcorn, and Newberg, Ore., which was opened on Oct. 20 by manager Jerry Holman.
Since launching six months ago, Menlo Park Funding has opened 12 branches in the Northeast, the River Edge, N.J.-based company said earlier this month. Menlo Park is a division of Real Estate Mortgage Network Inc., a Fannie Mae seller-servicer and Ginnie Mae servicer that "is retaining more than $100,000,000 per month on the secondary market." Branch managers have the option of also utilizing other third-party wholesale programs.
Among the 12 branches recruited was a mortgage brokerage in New Jersey owned by Richard Messano and another in Rhode Island operated by Norman Zolkos.
"For bankers and brokers who have done well in the past, but are finding themselves facing challenges in the current economy, Menlo Park Funding gives them the tools and backing needed to get to that next level," Sam Lamparello, director of Menlo Park Funding, said in the news release.
REMN also recently announced the opening of a new Pasadena, Calif., branch. Tami Murphy, who will manage the branch, has 25 years' experience in mortgage lending including jobs at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Countrywide Home Loans -- where she reportedly "ranked fifth in the nation for overall performance."
Thomas Saxon was hired as branch manager of Envoy Mortgage's Easton, Md., branch, an Aug. 31 statement said. His prior employers include PNC Mortgage and AIG.
A month earlier, Houston-based Envoy recruited Marisa Sykora from Nationstar Mortgage to serve as regional sales manager of the Great Lakes Region.
More recently, Envoy took advantage of Allied Home Mortgage Corp.'s woes and snatched Brian McGinley to run its Wichita, Kan., branch, the Wichita Business Journal reported. McGinley, who reportedly ran the Wichita branch for Allied, brought along his nine branch employees.
Allied is also based in Houston.
TriStar Home Loans in Valencia, Calif., became a retail branch of Bay Equity Home Loans, a September statement said. TriStar was co-founded by Hady Breidy in June 2000, has 13 employees and reports $125 million in annual originations.
In August, Bankers Preferred Real Estate Loans joined Bay Equity. The Burlingame, Calif., business was founded in 1993 by John Finnegan and is affiliated with three large Better Homes and Gardens real estate offices.
A month earlier, Pacific Bay Financial Corp. became part of Bay Equity. The San Francisco mortgage brokerage launched in 1985 under the leadership of Manny and Elfa Kagan.
"When the mortgage industry changed, I recognized that we had to change too in order to stay in business," Manny Kagan said in the announcement. "We interviewed five banks looking for the right fit, but Bay Equity stood out because they were a true mortgage bank built by talented young professionals."
San Francisco-based Bay Equity was founded in 2007 and says it has funded more than 7,500 loans for more than $3 billion. The company operates a wholesale lending business and more than a dozen retail branches. It is reportedly licensed in 11 western states.
Three branches were acquired in July by Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. Connecticut branches in South Windsor and West Hartford run by Tom Valyo were among the additions. Also joining Sun Prairie, Wis.-based Fairway was David Kanis and is office in Asheville, N.C.
Fairway said it operates 121 locations across the country.
Euro International Mortgage is luring branches with a $10,000 bonus. The East Boca Raton, Fla.-based company promises of competitive rates, fast closings and $15,000 in monthly branch advertising. Euro International Branch Recruiter Ken Burrows reported that the company has 300 employees in 80 branches.
A new branch was opened in Manhattan, N.Y., by Mortgage Master Inc., the Walpole, Mass.-based company recently announced. The office is licensed in Connecticut and New Jersey in addition to New York. Marc Kunen, who previously worked at GFI Mortgage Bankers, is head of the Manhattan office.
A branch was opened in Arlington, Texas, by V.I.P. Independent Mortgage Inc., an Oct. 17 announcement indicated. Kevin Bostad serves as the regional manager at the branch.
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based V.I.P. says that it has opened 14 branches since launching in December 2006. Headcount exceeds 175 people. As of mid-October, year-to-date volume had almost matched the 2,360 loans closed during all of 2010.
The new branch opening follows the opening of offices in Riverside and Carlsbad, Calif., earlier this year. The company reportedly operates 30 retail offices and employs more than 600 people.
Ramses Frangie and Lindsay Moss-Frangie are managing a new branch in Roswell, Ga., for Atlanta-based WestStar Mortgage. The couple specializes in loans with no closing costs. The branch is reportedly licensed to originate in 10 states.
Trustmark National Bank opened a mortgage branch in Hoover, Ala., according to the Birmingham Business Journal. Steve Shaw will serve as regional production manager for Trustmark, which originated $1.7 billion last year.