The first Walmart-based in-store branch from retail mortgage cooperative Lenders One opened this week in Newton, New Jersey. And two additional mortgage branches are expected to open in Walmarts in New Jersey and Florida within the next 30 days.
Family First Funding, a Toms River, New Jersey-based retail lender, opened a branch in the Walmart in Newton on Monday, Lenders One said in a statement. Family First, which has done about $1.9 billion in volume over the last 12 months, per Modex, will offer purchase, refinance and home equity products to shoppers at the big box retailer.
“The Walmart branch in-store opportunity helps Lenders One members diversify their business model with retail foot traffic in geographical areas in which they may not normally have a presence,” Lenders One, an alliance of nonbanks, banks and credit unions, said in a statement. “Walmart customers can enjoy the convenience of being able to apply for or inquire about borrowing options face-to-face with a personal touch, in the same place they do their regular shopping and receive other in-store services.”
Another Family First branch inside a Walmart will soon be open in Orlando, Florida. MLB Residential Lending will also be opening a location in Boonton, New Jersey, the mortgage cooperative said Monday. Lenders One has said it plans to open about 20 locations within Walmarts by the end of 2022, including branches in California, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas.
Leasing retail store-within-a-store spaces to a range of different mortgage lenders is a way of diversifying risk. Should one lender face financial difficulties, the others can keep doing business. The cooperative’s value proposition is it can bring more financial stability in dealing with different mortgage lenders at the same time, Justin Demola president of Lenders One, told HousingWire in March.
Lenders One will be responsible financially for the leases, with the cooperative subleasing space to its members.
“They came to us because of our size, scope, and structure,” Demola said of Walmart.
Founded in 2000, Lenders One Cooperative has a network of more than 250 independent mortgage bankers, banks, credit unions, correspondent lenders, and suppliers of mortgage products and services. The platform is managed by a subsidiary of Altisource Portfolio Solutions, a service provider and marketplace for the real estate and mortgage industries. Its members originated over $700 billion in mortgage volume in 2021.