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Quarterly residential mortgage production by lender. Subprime, Alt-A, home equity and conforming originations. Volume by quarter since 2003.


Res Lender Funds $300 mil in Year 1

Diamond Residential Mortgage hopes to hire 80 people in 2011

Jan. 14, 2011

By MortgageDaily.com staff


After affiliating his loan production team with three big-name lenders, a residential mortgage banker decided to go it alone. Despite many obstacles in today's lending environment, the new organization pumped out $300 million in production during its first year in operation. With further growth planned, several dozen new employees will be recruited.

Following his graduation from college, Paul Diamond began his lending career in 1982.

He landed a job with CTX Mortgage Co. in 1989 working from the Chicago area.

Diamond was among around 300 employees who were operating "under an affiliate arrangement" to leave Dallas-based CTX in 2004, he said in a telephone interview with MortgageDaily.com.

Their new employer: First Magnus Financial Corp.

"We were their second-largest retail partner, in First Magnus, and we operated under the Charter Funding name throughout the Midwest," he said. "We had become a billion dollar unit within First Magnus, again, under an employment arrangement."

When First Magnus collapsed in August 2007, Diamond said he didn't sleep for three days as he sought a new home for the team.

By the end of the third day he landed a deal with Flagstar Bank.

photo of Paul Diamond
Diamond Residential photo
of Paul Diamond

But by 2009, Flagstar was struggling and needed a $350 million investment from MP Thrift Investments L.P. By the middle of 2009, the Troy, Mich.-based institution was reducing its mortgage sales force.

"They came to me and said ... 'we don't want to wind you down because your group is profitable,'" Diamond explained. "'You oughta to think about putting your own company together.'"

So he launched Diamond Residential Mortgage.

He spent the second half of 2009 setting up the organization and obtaining licensing, readying the company for opening in December 2009. Because the group had been working at a bank, everyone had to go through the license process. Warehouse lines were obtained, approval was obtained from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a rigorous Veterans Affairs approval was also secured.

"Certainly a startup year is your hardest year," Diamond said. "The first four months was, definitely was a challenge starting a new company."

He cited obstacles such as compensation rule changes, RESPA reform, TILA reform and Dodd-Frank.

"It's a challenging business right now."

The company is now licensed in seven states.

During 2010, Diamond Residential closed 2,000 mortgages for $300 million. Among the lender's production were 1,000 FHA-insured loans.

But the growth didn't come without pain.

"I don't think any of us have ever worked harder than we worked in the last year," he explained. "It's been hard."

This year Diamond hopes to close $500 million.

"We would like to double 2010 production but more importantly with quality," he said in a written statement. "That does not mean we will not do challenging loans, it means we will make sure they are structured and documented correctly and compliantly."

The company is based in the Chicago area and employs 120 people in seven states.

Diamond said he hopes that headcount will exceed 200 by the end of this year.

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