Mortgage Daily

Published On: August 3, 2006
Wholesaler Expanding

Stearns Lending adding 125 mortgage jobs

August 3, 2006


photo of Coco Salazar
Space made available because of Ameriquest Mortgage layoffs is being used to help a California-based wholesaler add over a hundred new jobs.

Stearns Lending recently acquired additional office space at its headquarters location, as well as 23,000 square feet in Irvine that previously belonged to Ameriquest, to accommodate more help for its growing mortgage demand.

Within the next 12 months, the Santa Ana, Calif.-based lender will hire at least 125 new employees in the Golden State and several others for its Arizona, Maryland and Nevada operations. The new jobs will include sales employees, underwriters and funders, said Glenn Stearns, company founder and chief executive.

Stearns, licensed in 30 states, currently has about 275 mortgage-lending employees throughout 10 offices in four states, according to the executive.

About 75 of the new employees will serve local wholesale functions at the headquarters, Stearns said.

The other slated 50 California hires will be accommodated in the office space previously occupied by Ameriquest. Stearns will begin transferring its retail division and the national sales division, which handles wholesale and correspondent business, from Santa Ana to Irvine within the next two weeks, the executive said.

Stearns said his company achieved the best volume in its 17-year history during the second quarter, with $596 million in fundings increasing 27 percent from the first quarter. Stearns is aiming to hit $2.14 billion in fundings this year, compared to $1.90 billion in 2005, and push the annual figure up by 14 percent and 31 percent in the next two years, respectively.

“We have the ability to continue to grow because we’re not gigantic,” Stearns said. Also, “I think change is great. We have to be addicted to change and can’t be afraid of it. We have continued to do that and that’s a big reason why we have grown.”

Examples of change cited by Stearns included recruiting wholesale business in states where the company does not have a physical presence and having its retail business focus efforts on home equity lines and second trust deeds.

The executive also suggested that staying an A-paper shop and never swimming into subprime has helped the company stay ahead.

“You have to keep reinventing yourself,” he continued. “You can never get comfortable, You have to always look for the next thing because the minute you stop and think, ‘this is it,’ it’s going to pass you by. If you try to get fat on one thing, whether it be refis, one day it’s going to go away and you’ll be stuck. Or if you get fat on subprime, it’s going to come back and bite you because you’re going to have a billion buybacks.”

“Our loans are performing well, we’re adding product and investors want to pay us more,” he added, noting the chain reaction from well-performing loans has included attracting less-costly warehouse lenders, which in turn has paved way for more profit and generated interest from investors, brokers and borrowers.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for [email protected]

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