A once lauded Northern California mortgage company that boasts a network of more than 50 mortgage brokers and branch affiliates and annual originations "in the billions" is going out of business.
Diablo Funding Group, which has been in business in San Ramon outside of San Francisco since 1992, told employees and associates last week it was shutting down, putting 100 people out of work, according to a source who did not want to be identified.
CEO Anthony Battagello did not return messages left by MortgageDaily.com.
Executive Vice President John Hollinger was reached on his cell phone but refused to comment.
"Man, I really don't," Hollinger said when asked if he would talk about the closing.
Don Morton, a real estate consultant with Empire Realty Associates in Danville, did business with Diablo and was taken aback by the closing, which the company confirmed to him.
"It was a shock to me," Morton said in an interview. "I had no idea they were having problems. I'm not surprised given the market we are in, but this certainly came as a surprise because I knew a lot of those people ... and they always seemed to be doing pretty well."
On its Web site, the company said it originates residential mortgages through a network of over 650 independent licensed mortgage consultants, processors and staff in more than 50 locations.
Diablo operated as a "mortgage banker and broker" and offered products and loans through its in house mortgage bank, Bay Bancorp -- which sold directly to Wall Street investors, the company said. Among its programs were subprime, 107 percent financing and the no income/no asset verification loans.
The company holds licenses in 19 states and while production numbers were not available, Diablo said since it's founding it "has originated more than 100,000 loans with an annual funding volume in the billions."
Diablo touts on its Web site that it was ranked "the number one mortgage broker for the third consecutive year" by the San Francisco Business Times.
Morton said while Northern California's mortgage industry has suffered through brokerage closings and job cutbacks the market is "not all gloom and doom."
"Things aren't good," Morton acknowledged, "but I blame a lot of that on the press. I'd love to see a balanced story" about the market.
"There are hot markets (in the region) and there are markets that are doing reasonably good," he said. "We even see multiple offers (on a property) on occasion. There are buyers out there."
"Diablo Funding Group, Inc. has become one of the largest and most reputable mortgage companies in the nation," the Web site recently stated.