Center Stage With NetMore America by The Niche Report

by 03 Nov 2008
A Sustainable Future Begins With The Right Relationships The Niche Report would like to introduce you to a new mortgage wholesale lender ? NetMore America ?who is building a next generation mortgage banker through the power of the right relationships. Mark Freedle, the CEO with the vision to start a mortgage business in a very difficult environment, gave us the opportunity to find out more about this fast growing Walla Walla, WA based mortgage lender with plans on expanding their footprint throughout the United States. ______________________________________________________________________ Mark, what drove you to launch a mortgage company in such a difficult lending environment? Mark: Back in 2005 when the mortgage business was setting production records we saw the potential for a correction in residential lending as lenders stretched underwriting standards and non-prime ARM originations increased dramatically. In February of 2006, I began putting together a group of very senior mortgage professionals with strong underwriting and secondary marketing experience to start building out our platform to be ready for the opportunity. We officially launched NetMore in the third quarter of 2007 and funded our first loan at the end of October 2007. Today, we are the fastest growing mortgage company in the Northwest, with specific plans on expanding our footprint throughout the United States over the next two years. How big is NetMore today and where are you going in the future? Mark: Today, NetMore is focused on two lines of business; our wholesale lending channel and our professional branch system. We have approximately 150 employees and are licensed in 18 states. Our goal is to move east strategically and be a nationwide mortgage banker over the next two years. To help us mange our growth, we are continuing to hire and we project that during the next 12 months we will hire well over 100 new employees. We just made some key senior hires, such as Lisa Schreiber as our Chief Strategy Officer and Scott Holtz as our new Regional Vice President, Eastern Region. From a production perspective, we are projecting full year 2008 mortgage production to be well in excess of $500 million, compared to just $14 million in 2007. By early spring 2009 we are projecting approximately $250-$300 million a month run rate. Our goal is to be a top 25 national lender in the next 24 to 36 months. Tell us a little about your senior management team? Mark: We have put together a very experienced group of mortgage professionals. Lisa Schreiber, our new Chief Strategy Officer, her background is in building a quality national lending platform that is both scalable and profitable. Julie Krause, NetMore?s Chief Operations Officer, has more than thirty years of experience in the mortgage industry and was one of the first individuals to get her Computerized Home Underwriting Management System (CHUMS) number in the Northwest. Dan Ferris, our SVP of Secondary Marketing, also has more than thirty years experience that includes a Master Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB) designation. This team with the full support of all of our employees has one goal; to build a sustainable company together. What do mean by ??a sustainable future begins with the right relationships?? Mark: NetMore wants to work with professionals that clearly understand what it means to do the right thing for their clients or partners day in and day out. We believe there is tangible value in character and it is the foundation of building a sustainable business. We want to make sure we are always working or partnering with the right people or organization that share our core values of integrity, respect, accountability, forward thinking and commitment to creating value. Through the power of the right relationships, we believe NetMore will become a leading next generation mortgage banker and build a sustainable national platform through responsible lending. Where are you seeing the opportunities in today?s mortgage market? Mark: There are many opportunities that we see in today?s market. First and foremost we see many talented professionals looking for work. This allows us to employ the ?best of the best? in our Leadership, Account Executives and Operations staff. We have already seen the value of a great team and the service levels they can provide. Great employees in conjunction with great technology solutions create customer satisfaction and loyalty that we can build on. We also see a real void for the mortgage broker. Finding knowledgeable wholesale lenders that are focused on building their wholesale presence in a sustainable manner is key to their success. Our FHA expertise gives us a significant opportunity as many competitors are still struggling to gain FHA knowledge or hire DE underwriters. All of our underwriters have their DE and we feel this gives us a significant advantage in the marketplace. How is your sales team navigating the current market challenges? Mark: For one, our industry is under siege. When that happens, many people exit and even those that are still employed are reluctant to go out on the street and ask for new business. Surprisingly, we have hired new and very seasoned Account Executives that are telling us just that! By putting our program out there with knowledgeable Account Executives backed up by experienced and customer focused operations, we see a terrific opportunity to grow our market share. What makes NetMore different from other mortgage lenders in today?s market? Mark: Our objective is to enable our lending partners, mortgage brokers and our professional branch system, to operate efficiently and ?friction free?? a model based on service, speed and sustainability. We believe we have a better understanding of the mortgage business and how to execute with a significant strength and expertise in secondary marketing, risk management, communication and a commitment to being a true partner. Explain to our readers what you mean by a ?friction free? process? Mark: ?Friction Free? means a lending platform that incorporates easy to access web-based portal, intuitive processes where workflows can be easily understood and delivered, and risk mitigation applications that are applied while still allowing the user to move forward in the process with our end product being a complete quality package for investor delivery. Through the use of current web-based technologies and education, we will focus on our adoption rates to provide the biggest lift to our organization. What advice would you give mortgage brokers trying to understand the FHA product segment? Mark: FHA loans are more important than ever and there are few mortgage banking operations that have NetMore?s experience in the FHA product platform. For many brokers, FHA was not a product that was in focus until ALT A went away last year. Many lenders and brokers alike are still scrambling to get FHA approval and even once approved, there is a learning curve that has to be addressed. Experienced FHA lenders, such as NetMore, are few and far between. It makes it essential for brokers to partner with a lender that understands the FHA origination process, has the right relationships, and is committed to providing best in class service. There have been some talk among brokers about how difficult FHA is to work with and that FHA loans take an extremely long time to process. Is this true? Mark: This simply is not the case. FHA has made significant changes to appraisal requirements and the work items that were typical in the past have all but gone away. Processing an FHA loan is no more time consuming than typical financing. You just need to have the proper upfront disclosures and order your FHA appraisal through the FHA Connection website. Here is where a broker?s partnership with the right lender, such as NetMore starts to become extremely helpful. As you learn some of the FHA nuances, the knowledge of your lender can help you navigate and make this process friction free for both the broker and their client. What is some advice you can offer mortgage brokers to be successful in today?s environment? The best advice anyone can give today is to evaluate your business model by asking some key questions; What is your origination strategy? Who are you partnering with to help you weather the storm? Is your business model focused on you or are you relying on a lender that might decide they don?t want to ?play? anymore? Who can offer you both the education and deliver the service you need to keep your business on track? It?s all about relationships these days and the right ones will make or break your future!



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