Mortgage Daily

Published On: October 29, 2007
Originators Wanted

UMAX hiring 100 in 5 states

October 29, 2007

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
A California-based broker is looking to hire loan officers in at least five Western states. The company’s chief, who attributes the success to its mortgage brokerage structure, forecasts a net branching demise.

UMAX Mortgage plans to add 100 loan officers to its staff throughout next year, Chief Executive Officer Steve Jackson recently told MortgageDaily.com in a phone interview.

For the moment, the hires are planned for California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska. Advertising is currently being focused in the first three of these states, including within Seattle and Portland, and will move into Alaska at a later point.

“We’re working on our first 1,000” employees, Jackson said. “Ultimately we want to reach 1,500 in about five to six years.”

UMAX was incorporated this year through the combining of Bayside Financial, which Jackson started in 2001, and Specific Properties and Finance, founded in 2003. However, these two entities still stand alone, Jackson said.

“UMAX is a fairly new business number, but a lot employees have been with us for years,” he added.

The company is seeking to get licensed in more states, though Jackson declined to disclose where.

While the Redwood City-based broker’s “sweet spot” is A-paper lending, “we’ll do just about anything,” Jackson said, noting it still has plenty of subprime lenders even though there’s been degradation.

Amid a myriad of other companies folding under subprime pressures, UMAX’s ability to grow is based on the fact that it does not engage in any lending. “Two or three bad loans can spell trouble” for companies that have lender affiliates, where they engage in correspondent lending or have warehouse lines, the CEO said.

“We’ve avoided that,” Jackson added. “We’ve always been pure brokers and there’s no down side other than individual loan officer licensing in certain states.”

The executive additionally noted he believes net branching will also dismantle to a certain degree and ultimately lead to improvement in the mortgage industry. He explained net branch employees are not required to be individually trained and licensed in states, whereas those of brokers do and that provides quality.

“We’re undergoing rapid controlled growth,” Jackson said. “We’re a pure mortgage broker, not a lender, so all this stuff going on affects us in a positive way and not negative. We’re being fairly selective in our additions.”


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