Mortgage lenders use technology and local connections to grow their national footprint and more Latest News Here

While rising mortgage rates have prompted some of the biggest names in mortgage lending to downsize as their refinance business dries up, some smaller lenders, who are focused on providing purchase loans to buyers of home, have used technology and local connections to grow their business.

Atlanta-based direct mortgage lender Silverton Mortgage, for example, continues to expand its national footprint, adding new branches in the Carolinas, Arkansas and Missouri over the past year.

Silverton Mortgage is the trading name of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Inc. The company is licensed in 45 states and sponsors 277 mortgage originators working in 46 branches, according to the National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. The only states where Silverton does not yet have a license are Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York and Wisconsin.

The company announced Friday that it is opening three new offices in the Carolinas — in Charleston and Greer, South Carolina and Apex, North Carolina.

Josh Moffit

“Given today’s market challenges, we know it’s helpful to be able to talk face-to-face (or face-to-face) with someone when you’re making a big purchase, like a house,” said the Silverton founder. Mortgage. and President Josh Moffit, in a statement. “Communication is a priority for Silverton and having local loan originators is key to helping people feel more comfortable through the buying process.”

In December, the company announced the opening of two new offices in Arkansas, and it opened a new office in Kansas City, Missouri last summer as part of a partnership with homebuilder clover & hive.

Last year, Silverton Mortgage began offering hybrid electronic fences using the Remote Online Notarization (RON) capabilities provided by the Snapdocs digital fence platform.

“We’ve successfully closed over 1,000 loans with hybrid electronic closing since our beta launch in April, and we’ve had so much positive feedback from our customers who have been able to take advantage of the program,” Moffitt said in November when the company rolled out the program company-wide. “The new process gives our borrowers (and their agents) time to focus on what’s most important: their dream home.”

Hometown Lenders opened 18 branches in 2022

Hometown Lenders, based in Huntsville, Alabama, has opened 18 new branches so far this year, while continuing its strategic national expansion. After opening 14 branches in the first five months of 2022, on August 4, Hometown Lenders announced four new branches in Florida, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.

The company sponsors 585 mortgage originators, who operate in 125 branches in over 40 states under trade names including 1st Family Mortgage Company, Bryte Home Loans, Hometown Texas, My City Mortgage, Southtown Mortgage, The Conley Group, Tila Mortgage , Total Choice Mortgage and Waymaker Mortgage, according to the National Multi-State Licensing System.

Hometown Lenders is a customer of SimpleNexus, the developer of a homeownership platform for loan officers, borrowers, realtors and settlement agents. In March, SimpleNexus selected Hometown Lenders as the recipient of its annual Capstone Enterprise Award, which honors corporate lenders using the company’s homeownership platform “to dominate the residential mortgage market.”

Andria Lightfoot

“Hometown Lenders is a model of how corporate lenders can maximize their success and achieve amazing growth with a great team and cutting-edge technology all pulling in the same direction,” said Andria Lightfoot, Chief SimpleNexus customers, when the price was announced.

Amerant’s switch to wholesale

While loanDepot recently announced the closure of its wholesale channel as part of cost-cutting efforts, Florida’s second-largest community bank is expanding its presence in wholesale mortgages through its joint venture, Amerant Mortgage LLC. It was launched last year with former City National Bank executives Howard Levine, Tony Eelman, Marshall Martin and Joe Keel.

Amerant Bank employs 146 registered mortgage originators, while Amerant Mortgage employs 26 mortgage officers and sponsors three others, according to the National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry.

The growing role of technology

Automation has become a priority for mortgage lenders as rising interest rates weigh on their lucrative refinancing business, fueling more intense competition for homebuyers and creating pressure to cut costs.

Maxwell, a tech startup that aims to help small and midsize mortgage lenders streamline their processes, raised $52.5 million in additional Series B funding last year and launched a new solution in December designed to help lenders use machine learning to speed document review process.

Often the solutions offered by technology providers operate in the cloud, with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce promoting tailored services to help digital mortgage service providers digitize and process mortgage applications and documents.

The nation’s largest mortgage lender, Rocket Mortgage, is making its mortgage origination technology available to financial institutions as an end-to-end “mortgage as a service” through SalesForce Financial Services Cloud.

Banks and credit unions also have the ability to “launch, replace or augment” their range of home loans by integrating Rocket Mortgage’s digital mortgage app into an online banking platform developed by Q2 Holdings Inc.

Rocket and Best Growing References

But some banks would rather simply outsource their mortgage business entirely, referring customers to a partner lender who handles the entire process.

Santander Bank announced Aug. 5 that it was referring customers looking to buy homes to Rocket Mortgage, after signing an agreement making Rocket the exclusive provider of preferred mortgages for the bank’s nearly 2 million customers.

In March, Ally Home, the residential mortgage arm of Ally Bank, announced it would offer home loans to customers nationwide through a partnership with Better Mortgage. In a pilot program in nine states last year, Ally originated $10.4 billion in mortgages through its “powered by Better” direct-to-consumer channel.

Ally is an investor in Better Mortgage’s parent company, Better HoldCo, which has struggled in recent months with plans to go public through a planned merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

Launched in 2016, Better’s mortgage lending subsidiary, Better Mortgage Corp., funded $58 billion in home loans last year. But this year, Better laid off thousands of employees as rising interest rates drastically reduced its refinancing business.

Better Mortgage is licensed to make home loans in all 50 states and sponsors 323 mortgage originators working at 11 branches, up from 1,444 originators in March, according to the National Multistate Licensing System and Registry.

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