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Fast Growing Privately Held Mortgage Companies

Inc. magazine ranks 500 of the fastest

November 1, 2004


Inc. 500 magazine recently announced its 23rd annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. Mortgage-related companies comprised more than five percent of the list.

Reflecting the faster pace of today's economy, Inc. said it shortened the measurement period to four years of growth rather than the customary five. With over 500,000 businesses considered, the top 500 chosen were those that are independent privately held companies with net sales of $200,000 in fiscal 2000 (1999 for alumni) and $2 million in revenue for fiscal 2003, compared with $100,000 and $1 million, respectively.

Companies were ranked on averaged year-over-year sales growth.

Number one on the top ten of America's fastest-growing private mortgage-related companies was Family First Mortgage, Inc. ranked at No. 37.

The Palm Coast, Fla.-based Family First is reportedly a 25 year-old full-service mortgage company with 541 employees in 211 branches covering 30 states with 2003 revenue of $24.1 million.

Ark La Tex Financial Services claimed the number two spot, with a ranking of No. 57. Headquartered in Frisco, Texas, Ark La Tex reportedly employs 472 people and had a four-year average annual growth of 446.5 percent with 2003 revenues of $20.6 million.

Number three on the ladder and ranking No. 70 was USALending located in Salt Lake City. USA Lending has 80 employees, according to Inc., and revenues of $4.8 million last year with an average annual growth of 379.9 percent.

Moving into the number four spot was Centreville, Va.-based Carteret Mortgage which ranked No. 74 on the fastest-growing list. Inc. magazine reports that Carteret is the nation's second-largest mortgage broker, with about 1800 in-house and home-based employees operating in all states except Georgia.

Company spokesman Bill Hamlet said Carteret had $5 billion in mortgage production volume in 2003 and are expecting to meet the $3 billion mark by the end of the year. Last year's revenues totaled $86.5 million and average growth exceeded 374 percent for the nine year-old full service broker.

Next in line was Nexstar Financial Corporation, ranking No. 100 with an annual revenue growth of 283.1 percent and 2003 revenues of $22.5 million. Nexstar CEO Rick Thornberry said, "We attribute our rapid growth to the combination of the right team of people enabled by a market leading platform offering innovative products and services that meet our clients' strategic needs."

Nexstar provides full service mortgage outsourcing solutions to banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Headquartered in St. Charles, Mo., five year-old Nexstar reportedly has 330 employees and operates in all 50 states.

The company expects volume to grow at an annual growth rate of 43% from 2003 to 2005, according to Thornberry.

Number six on the list is Indianapolis-based Ace Mortgage Funding, ranking No. 103. Ace Mortgage is a full-service mortgage corporation with 300 employees operating in 24 states, according to Inc., with 2003 revenue of $41 million with an annual growth rate of just over 276 percent.

Global Home Loans and Finance, headquartered in Melville, N.Y., fell into the number seven spot ranking No. 136 on the list. Five year-old Global, a MortgageDaily.com advertiser, reportedly does business in 45 states on the retail level, operating in 42 states and employing 448 people. Annual Mortgage loan production for 2003 was $800 million, according to the company, with an expected $1.4 billion for 2004.

Global Home CEO William Alvaro told MortgageDaily.com in an email, "We have invested 100 percent in this company. We've taken every dollar and reinvested it back into our company. Our success is built on three key elements: Employing qualified people in the correct positions, leveraging the right processes and implementing the best technology for the company to expand."

Number eight on the list of mortgage-related companies was loan correspondent Silver State Financial Services, ranking No. 159. Inc. magazine reported that Henderson, Nev.-based Silver State's expansion into new states, including California. Silver State reportedly has 67 employees and 2003 revenues of $23.1 million with an average revenue growth of just over 206 percent.

Operating in all 50 states with over 2700 employees is the number nine company, First Magnus Financial. Headquartered in Tucson, First Magnus ranked No. 161 on the list. Inc. magazine reported that First Magnus has had only one unprofitable month, its first. Last year's revenue topped $336 million with an average revenue growth of 205.5 percent.

The number 10 largest mortgage company on the list was Lendia.

Headquartered in Worcester, Mass it ranked No. 174.

Cofounder and COO Greg O'Connor said Lendia's retail volume last year was just under $1 billion with a follow-up this year of about $700 million.

"Much of our focus is on outsource transaction processing and back office administration," O'Connor explained. "A complete turn-key operation solution -- inclusive of the complete loan product spectrum."

Lendia reportedly opened its doors six years ago and now operates in 37 states with 137 employees. Lendia had a four-year average annual growth of 194.6% and 2003 revenue of $13.7 million.

Paula Parisot is a freelance writer for MortgageDaily.com. In addition to 4 years' journalism experience at other news publications, Paula has worked in the mortgage industry. Email Paula at: [email protected]

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