I cannot believe it has been five years since we launched HomeBridge’s renovation platform. We started a new journey into the world of renovation lending on April 1, 2011 (yes, April Fools’ Day). At that time the “Big 5 Lenders” were Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Prospect Mortgage, Fifth Third and M&T Bank. How could we ever become one of the big players with only a small Maryland Retail Team that had ever done a renovation loan? We started with a staff of all part-time associates:
- Steve Morris was a Mortgage Loan Originator and also did all the Concierge work
- Sandra Baptista was the corporate receptionist and did our draw disbursements
- Jacqueline Marshall was the Maryland Disclosure and Set Up Specialist and when she had time she acted as our admin
- Christine Villano was a new underwriter with HomeBridge/REMN and was the only underwriter who had ever underwritten a 203(k) loan. She was designated as our company Renovation Lead Underwriter
During the first year of operations we funded 271 units for $50.6 million. Steve Morris and Sandra Baptista transitioned into full-time renovation roles.
Then, 2012 was great year for us as we hired two great renovation originators. Leesa Sandoval joined the Dallas production team in April (she is celebrating her four-year anniversary at HomeBridge ) and Jamie Zeitz joined the Florida team in August. Our message was spreading fast – “maybe not the biggest, but certainly the best.” On July 1, 2012, only 15 months since we launched our platform, we became the fifth largest in the country. We were allowed to sit at the “adult table” of the renovation word as we had funded 539 units for $110 million.
By April 1, 2013, we had moved into fourth place only behind Wells Fargo, Prospect Mortgage and Prime Lending. In just our first two years of operation we went from zero to number four in the country and we could feel the excitement. We ended 2013 with 596 funded units for $125.4 million.
During 2013, we had the ability to expand our staff in both the Concierge and Draw Teams:
- Jennifer McGuire joined the Draw Team
- Pamela Allen joined the Concierge Team
- Debra Bennett became our Renovation Admin
- Jessie Marshall worked as a part time college intern
By April 1, 2014, we moved into third place only behind Wells Fargo and Prospect Mortgage and it was another year of explosive growth. We increased our production from 596 units to 950 units and increased our dollar volume from $125.4 million to $200.3 million – 60% growth in just one year. This amazing trajectory allowed us to continuing building the department. During 2014 we added:
- Melissa Borsuk joined the Draw Team (Jennifer McGuire transferred to Vermont retail)
- Evan Stiegler joined the Concierge Team as our Western Region Specialist
- Jessica Marshall transferred to Full Time Concierge
- Gaylen Myers joined the Concierge Team
- Jacqueline Van Winter and Tammy Switzer joined the Concierge Team specializing in wholesale production
In 2015 we funded 1,168 units for $267.7 million and we ended less than 50 units short of becoming the second largest renovation lender in the country. We were proud to see four more additions to the renovation platform:
- Damon Richardson was a wonderful addition to the REMN Wholesale team
- Brad Smith moved into an important renovation role for HomeBridge Wholesale
- Susan Cillo joined us as the Manager of Post Closing Operations
- Kristen Zellner joined Susan’s team as a Draw Specialist
So yes, big changes since Steve Morris and Sandra Baptista were wearing multiple hats and Jacqueline Marshall was typing all of our guidelines and trying to keep up with all my new presentations as I traveled the country preaching the word of renovation lending.
They say time flies when you’re having fun, and the past five years are quite the successful and fun blur. I don’t think anyone dreamed we would be so close to becoming the second largest renovation lender in the country in such a short time. But we did…and we have had fun doing it. There have been tears of frustration and tears of joy. I will never regret those early days in the summer of 2010 when I was basically told, “hell could freeze over before we do renovation loans.” You see, if you have a passion for something, then go do it. If you dream big and if you miss, at least you missed big!
During our first five years we’ve assisted 3,690 individuals and families in fulfilling “their” American Dream.
- 3,690 successful funded renovation loans
- $799 million to assist our customers in building their dreams
So, what are my dreams for the next 5 years? Wells Fargo and Prospect better enjoy their past success because the HomeBridge / REMN team is on the move. With the wonderful support we have received from the entire HomeBridge platform, nothing will stop us from reaching the Renovation Mountain Top.
Thank you for all the support and confidence you have shown my team and me. I look forward to the next chapter of our journey….ELEVATE!