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Mortgage Firms Recognized for Most Hirings

Hire Power Awards announced

Dec. 12, 2012

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

portrait of Sam Garcia

A ranking of small and mid-sized employers that are adding the most jobs to the U.S. economy includes several mortgage-related firms. The top-ranking lender specializes in mortgages for veterans.

During the past three years, Universal Services of America has added 17,330 jobs during the past three years.

That earned the Santa Ana, Calif.-based provider of services for commercial properties the distinction of being the nation's No. 1 job creator.

The rankings were made in the inaugural Hire Power Awards from Inc., which calls the awards "a salute to the job creators who are restoring lives and rebuilding the economy by putting Americans back to work."

"Inc.'s Hire Power Awards rank small and mid-sized private businesses by the number of new jobs they generated from 2008 to 2011," an announcement stated. "In total, the top 100 companies on the list generated more than 73,000 American jobs during the three-year period."

Among mortgage-related firms, Veterans United Home Loans topped the list.

Founded in 2002, the Columbia, Mo.-based lender specializes in mortgages that are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans United, which ranked 29th among companies in all industries, added 564 jobs over the past three years, bringing current headcount to 731.

Next was Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate, which claims to be one of the largest independent residential lenders in the country. Guaranteed was No. 32 on the overall list.

Guaranteed, which generated $183 million in revenues and $6.9 in originations last year, has added 549 jobs in the last three years. Staffing at Guaranteed currently stands at 1,224 employees operating in 46 states from 121 offices.

Third on the mortgage-related list was Urban Lending Solutions. The Pittsburgh-based advocate for homeownership, which opened for business in 2002, added 482 jobs to bring its total staffing to 537. Revenues were $104 million during 2011 at Urban Lending, which ranked 41st overall.

Up-and-comer New Penn Financial grabbed the No. 4 spot. After growing its staff by 401 employees during the past three years, the Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based company now employs 512 people. Revenue was $48 million in 2011 at New Penn, No. 57 on the full list.

In Charlotte, N.C., New American Mortgage claimed the next spot with 390 positions added. Through a current staff of 405 employees in 11 states, the four-year-old company focuses on realtor business. New American, which came in at No. 60 among companies from all industries, had revenues of $36 million last year.

Distressed mortgage servicer Wingspan Portfolio Advisors followed, with 351 jobs added. While total staffing at Carrollton, Texas-based was reported by Inc. at just 360 employees -- more recent data indicate that headcount has since expanded to 1,500 people. The Mortgage Daily advertiser, which landed in the 65th spot overall, generated between $20 and $50 million in revenues during 2011.

Wingspan Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Horne called the recognition "a great honor," according to a statement.

Another 'New American' -- Tustin, Calif.-based New American Funding -- earned the next position with 267 jobs added during the previous three years. While staffing was 331 at the time Inc. surveyed New American, a survey by Mortgage Daily indicated that the number of employees has grown to 559 people as of Sept. 30 of this year. New American, which was No. 86 on the full list, reported $1.8 billion in 2011 mortgage production, while last year's revenues were $44 million.

USA Mortgage followed, adding 218 jobs over the three-year period and leaving its staff size at 348. The St. Louis-based firm, which came in at No. 97 on the overall list, has since pushed headcount to 464 employees as of Sept. 30. USA, which reported $1.1 billion in mortgage production for last year, had 2011 revenues of $46 million.

USA Mortgage said in an accompanying announcement that it is an " independent mortgage banking company structured to control all aspects of the home loan process from origination to closing and funding."

Government mortgage lender and mortgage-backed securities issuer AmeriFirst Home Mortgage was next with 171 jobs added, bringing staffing to 267 employees. AmeriFirst was founded in 1987, had $24 million in revenues last year and is based in Portage, Mich.

Recognized firms that didn't make the overall 100 list or the top-10 financial services companies include Residential Finance Corp., which issued a statement indicating that it ranked fifth in Ohio with staffing growing from 185 in 2008 to 231 last year; and Total Mortgage Services LLC, which was the third highest ranking Connecticut company with 75 jobs added and a current staff of more than 120 people; .

The report focused on small- to mid-sized companies and didn't include hiring activity at companies like Quicken Loans Inc., where staffing has grown from around 2,890 at the end of 2008 to 4,000 as of the end of last year. Quicken has since increased headcount to 8,000.

Also absent from Inc.'s ranking was Nationstar Mortgage LLC, where headcount grew from less than a thousand employees to 2,599 at the end of 2011. Nationstar has since disclosed that staffing reached 4,100 employees as of Sept. 30.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. was also missing despite that mortgage employees, which numbered fewer than 40,000 in 2008, expanded past 50,000 at the end of last year.

Non-lenders who have been hiring include StreetLinks Lender Solutions, where the number of jobs has gone from less than 200 in 2008 to more than 400 at the end of 2011. As of Sept. 30, headcount at the appraisal management company exceeded 600.

Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Prior to his news career he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

[email protected]

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