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Net Branches Grow

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Six firms have recently been busy expanding their branch networks, while a new net branch directory provides prospective brokers with information on more than two dozen net branch operations. The self-proclaimed biggest U.S. broker settled with Georgia regulators allegations of unlicensed originators.

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance notified Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. on June 23 that it intended to revoke its annual license. The Houston-based company was accused of violating the Georgia Residential Mortgage Act, O.C.G.A. 7-1-1000 et seq. by operating through an unlicensed individual.

The state also issued cease-and-desist orders against co-owners Jim and Kathy Hodge.

Allied, which claims to be the “largest privately held mortgage banker/mortgage broker in the U.S.,” agreed to a settlement (Consent Order Docket No. DBF-MBL-09-014) requiring it to develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Georgia laws and contribute $1,000 to the State Regulatory Registry LLC in support of the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System.

Allied alumni Linda and Ron Litt — husband and wife — joined Southwest Funding LP earlier this year, according to an announcement. Linda Litt will recruit new branch offices and both will help expand lending operations.

Wyomissing, Pa.-based Source Mortgage and its President Keith Alan Zielaskowski joined Mortgage Network Inc., an Aug. 24 news release said. The statement indicated that independent mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers are finding it increasingly difficult to operate because of expanding regulations and large lenders that are raising rates and putting the squeeze on brokers.

Mortgage Network, which claims to be the “largest independent mortgage company in the Northeast,” reported to MortgageDaily.com that it originated $1.2 billion during 2008. From Jan. 1 to May 31, originations were $0.7 billion, and $1.8 billion is projected in full-year 2009 fundings.

Lancaster, Pa.-based Mortgage Network reports its branch count was 25 at the end of last year, the same as on Dec. 31, 2007. Potential growth was tempered by branch closings in tough markets. The company employed 225 people as of Dec. 31, 2008, up from 205 employees 12 months earlier.

PrimeSource Mortgage Inc. reported last month that it expanded its Texas operations by two branches. A new Keller office will be owned and operated by Scott Chronister, while a Chris Baca owns a new branch in Graham.

PrimeSource, founded in 1991, reports 2007 originations of $200 million. It says it operates two dozen branches and is licensed in 20 states.

An El Paso, Texas, branch was added earlier this year at Centurymark Home Loans, a news release said. Branch manager Fred Guerrero reportedly has 10 years’ experience with mortgage firms including Countrywide Financial Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. Guerrero cited Centurymark’s strong government programs in his decision to join.

Austin-based Leahy & Associates has joined Houston-based Cornerstone Mortgage Co., the Austin Business Journal recently reported.

1st Metropolitan Mortgage, New Mexico, was recognized among Goldline Research’s 2009 Leading Providers Mortgage Brokers. Among its peers are firms with more than $50 million in originations, no unresolved lawsuits and excellent client references.

In an Aug. 7 message to employees, America One Finance said it would stop operating on Sept. 1. Originators were referred to Loan Network LLC — which reportedly recruited the top America One producers but declined to comment.

A March announcement from Precision Funding Group LLC indicated a First Mortgage Inc. branch in Lehigh Valley, Pa., closed down and reopened under the Precision brand.

“Our affiliation with Precision Funding Group LLC sets a new standard for the industry,” the press release stated.

MortgageDaily.com recently launched a net branch directory with 27 entries so far. Each listing includes the full name of the firm, a link to its Web site and a link to MortgageDaily.com news stories mentioning the company. Data available on some net branches includes the number of employees, branches and licensed states as well as originations.

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