Based on the headlines, one might assume the mortgage business is a complete disaster. Origination volume is down about 50% from last year, thousands of layoffs are reported each week, and gloomy prognosticators say recession will make for a long winter. Some mortgage companies will merge to stay afloat, and many others will go under.
But despite the worst business climate in over a decade, there are mortgage companies hiring workers and thinking opportunistically about the cycle.
Purchase-focused lenders that didn’t balloon in size to capture refinancing business during the boom, in particular, are looking to hire loan officers. And mortgage brokerages, which don’t have the burden of high overhead, are heavily recruiting retail LOs whose pipelines have thinned in recent months.
Though purchase volume across the industry is down from 2020 and 2021, it’s among the only source of business out there for lenders. And it’s still very much a relationship-driven business: borrowers want to speak to local loan officers when starting the process of getting a loan, which is why firms are hiring LOs, recruiters and mortgage lending executives said.
Even traditional depository lenders are keen to bring aboard LOs from coast to coast. A quick scan of job boards shows depositories such as U.S. Bank, Citi and Bank of America looking to expand the ranks of LOs.
WesBanco Bank, the second-largest bank headquartered in West Virginia, plans to hire at about a dozen loan originators in 20 major markets this year. Founded in 1870, the bank has about 65 LOs. It has patiently prepared for a downturn and didn’t layoff a single employee in the past two years, said Rick Trew, vice president and regional sales manager at WesBanco.
“We didn’t go out and hire everybody we possibly could,” Trew said. “We maintained our stability during the last several years, that’s what set us apart.”
With over 200 branches in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, Trew said the bank is focused on purchase and the construction business.
Recruiting battles for LOs remain fierce, mortgage executives and LOs told HousingWire. Though signing bonuses aren’t as generous as they were during the boom, many LOs making a move are receiving better compensation at their new firm. But it could take a few months to land, especially doing outbound recruiting.
“Our industry knows that the process of going into a marketplace trying to find experienced originators is a very competitive and somewhat of a lengthy process,” Paul Buege, CEO of Inlanta Mortgage, told HousingWire.
Several large mortgage brokerages see the market-wide volatility as a recruiting tool. Mike Kortas-led NEXA Mortgage, a high-volume brokerage, is looking to grow to 2,000 brokers by the end of the year, pitching what he called the best pricing in the industry and 100% splits.
And Anthony Casa-helmed UMortgage, headquartered in Philadelphia, is recruiting from large retail lenders across the country. He’s also bringing in brokers. Sean Grapevine, who led ATL Mortgage in Georgia, recently joined UMortgage. Casa plans to also hire for data, IT, operations and HR roles.
Smaller operations are also looking to fill their ranks, including Motto Mortgage and Grow Mortgage.
Motto, which added 60 franchises in 2022, is looking for seven business development consultants who will be tasked with selling franchises of Motto. Real estate firm RE/MAX acquired Motto Mortgage in 2016 to create a “one-stop-shop” in which homebuyers can work with both a real estate agent to find a home and a Motto Mortgage loan originator to secure financing.
“As rates have gone up and the refi volume have gone down, they (rates) pushed origination back to purchase money,” said Bob Butterfield, vice president of franchise sales at Motto Mortgage. “Purchase applications are where brokerages really shine in the first place.”
“The broker channel is growing so quickly [that] we can’t hire fast enough,” said Russell Petty, owner of Grow Mortgage, which has offices in the Carolinas, Florida and Indiana. Faster return times, often same-day underwriting approvals, and less overhead are all factors that drive lower rates and business to Grow, Petty said.
He plans to hire up to 20 brokers by the end of the year, including junior LOs.
wemlo, a platform connecting mortgage brokers and loan originators to a processing network, is looking to expand. The firm is looking to hire account executives to sell the firm’s processing software. Demand for wemlo is being driven by brokerages that don’t have in-house processors, Butterfield said. The number of brokerages submitting loans to wemlo for processing rose 74% in the second quarter of 2022 from the same period last year, the company said. Acquired by real estate firm RE/MAX and Motto Mortgage in 2020 after two firms struggled to hire experienced processors, wemlo added three account executives with experience at wholesale lenders this year.
“Interest rates have knocked out homebuyers but we still have more qualified buyers who saved up a lot of money and have been trying to get into the market,” Buege said. “As we see a cooling in the housing market, it’s almost bringing a balance back. We look at the market as the glass is half full.”
Tough time for operations staff
It’s a better job market for LOs than processors and underwriters as they are the “revenue generators,” said Mandy Garfield, head of talent acquisition at independent mortgage bank Norcom Mortgage, which is looking for LOs in multiple markets.
“During the heavy refi years, companies really bulked up with processors, underwriters and support staff,” Garfield said. “When the refis went away… [that] is why you are seeing a lot of these layoffs. In order for a company to grow, loan originators are the ones bringing in the loans and revenue to the mortgage company.”
It’s an extremely competitive job market for operations professionals. Over a dozen out-of-work operations workers told HousingWire they’ve applied to hundreds of jobs, and rarely receive more than a few interviews for positions they’re highly qualified for.
“We had more than 300 people apply for a loan originator assistant position in 24 hours so we had to close that posting,” Garfield said.
Janille Dimaguipo knows that first-hand. She has nearly a decade’s worth of experience as a funder, processor and underwriter. She was laid off from her underwriting job by Change Home Mortgage in May 2022
“I knew it was a bad job market but I didn’t know it was this bad,” she said. “Layoffs are cyclical but I’m not used to there being nothing. This layoff season has been different for me. It’s scary. Some people have been out of work since January.”
Dimapuigo said she’s received few responses from the hundreds of jobs she’s applied to. But she isn’t deterred.
“The industry hasn’t beaten me down,” she said. “A lot of people don’t get into underwriting until later in life. I am a quick learner, I’ve worn a lot of hats, I’ve done a little bit of everything. I’m not too set in my own ways, I love learning and being in the industry.”
Here is a list of mortgage lenders and brokerages that are looking for LOs, account executives, processors and others. We will continue to update this list of firms
Here is a list of mortgage lenders and brokerages that are looking for LOs, account executives, processors and others. We will continue to update this list of firms that are hiring, please share any other openings you see out there by emailing Connie Kim at [email protected].
*American Financial Network has open positions for LOs, sales managers and branch managers
*E Mortgage Capital is hiring LOs and account executives
*WesBanco Bank is seeking LOs and processors throughout its mid Atlantic markets, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio
*PNC Bank is hiring LOs in the New York City region
*U.S. Bank is hiring LOs in New Jersey and Oregon
*Equity Prime Mortgage is hiring account executives for wholesale, non-delegated and delegated
*Motto Mortgage is hiring business development consultants
*wemlo is hiring account executives
*Cross Country Mortgage is hiring LOs in the New York City region
*Seacoast Bank is hiring LOs in Florida. The positions are remote but living in Florida and having self sourced business is a requirement
*Carrington Mortgage Services is hiring LOs who are remote
*Navy Federal is hiring an LO in Mayport, Florida.
*SecurityNational Mortgage Company is hiring LOs in Texas, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Maryland
*Landmark Professional Mortgage is hiring LOs in Vancouver, Washington
*Griffin Funding is looking for LOs with non-QM experience
*Greater Nevada Mortgage is hiring LOs to fill its field and internal mortgage consultant positions in the Reno and Las Vegas areas in Nevada and Sacramento and Roseville areas in California. The firm is also seeking a regional sales manager in the Reno and Sparks area in Nevada.
*Geneva Financial is hiring LOs and branch managers
*Go Mortgage is hiring LOs
*Norcom Mortgage is hiring LOs and branch managers
*Liberty Home Mortgage is hiring LOs
*UW Mortgage is hiring a junior accountant, an office manager and VP of operations
*Logan Finance is hiring account executives and account managers with non-QM experiences, non-QM underwriters, scenario desk underwriters, loan set-up specialist
*Goldstar Financial is hiring LOs and managers in 39 states and Washington D.C.
*WMB is hiring LOs and account executives in California, Florida and Washington
*Hypotec is hiring LOs
*Lending3 is hiring LOs, branch and account executives
*Inlanta Mortgage is hiring LOs and branch managers in the Midwest
*Nexa Mortgage is hiring remote LOs across the US (call Joe Stunzi at 404-867-8991)
*Weichert Financial Services is hiring LOs in New New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland & DC. It’s also seeking originators for the company’s call center
*First State Bank of the Southeast is hiring senior LOs in Kentucky and Tennessee
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