Peter Norden has been CEO of HomeBridge Financial Services, Inc. since early 2012. He has more than 35 years of experience in the residential mortgage lending industry and has held executive leadership positions at several organizations over the past three decades.
During his tenure at HomeBridge, Mr. Norden has overseen the continued growth of the organization’s national loan origination and servicing operations. As of January 2017, HomeBridge’s servicing portfolio was worth more than $17 billion.
Peter Norden’s Vision for HomeBridge
Mr. Norden’s long-term vision for HomeBridge involves a measured mix of organic growth and strategic acquisition. In early 2017, Mr. Norden presided over HomeBridge’s largest acquisition to date, adding more than 100 branches to HomeBridge’s operational footprint, bringing the total to approximately 250. It also grew the company’s origination workforce by around 500, swelling HomeBridge’s ranks to 3,000 employees. This contributed to a doubling of the company’s workforce and a near-tripling of its branch count since 2014. Peter Norden described the transaction as a necessary step to secure HomeBridge’s long-term future in an ever-evolving residential mortgage lending market.
“In today’s mortgage market, size, capital, liquidity and product diversity are critically important to long-term growth and success,” he said via HousingWire. “Specifically, our access to capital will improve, impacting our funding capabilities and our ability to increase our presence in existing and new markets.”
In the same release, Mr. Norden recognized the importance of remaining faithful to HomeBridge’s founding principles: “We will remain an entrepreneurial, flexible and nimble mortgage banker by effectively balancing profitability and volume, while continuing our commitment to operating in compliance with the current mortgage lending regulatory landscape.”
In 2014, he oversaw a rebranding effort that changed the company’s name from Real Estate Mortgage Network, Inc. (REMN) to HomeBridge Financial Services, Inc. The name change and rebranding was the culmination of a months-long review process. According to a release announcing the name change and rebranding effort, Norden and his executive team sought to highlight the organization’s commitment to simplifying the path to homeownership for ordinary Americans.
“We believe it is a smart move, particularly for our retail mortgage segment, because it directly correlates to what we do for home buyers, homeowners and housing industry professionals,” Peter Norden said in the release, adding: “We provide a bridge to fulfilling the American dream of homeownership.”
In 2013, not long into his tenure as CEO, Mr. Norden oversaw the creation of HomeBridge Wholesale, a wholesale mortgage operation that complements the company’s retail division and original wholesale platform, REMN Wholesale.
Prior Executive Leadership Experience
Before joining HomeBridge, Mr. Norden held other leadership positions in the residential mortgage lending industry, most recently as CEO and president of Opteum Financial Services, Inc. (OFS), which he founded in 1999. His prior experience in the residential lending sector served him well at OFS: By 2005, when Mr. Norden sold the company to Bimini Capital Management, Inc. (formerly Opteum, Inc.), the company was operating in 47 states with a loan origination capacity in excess of $8 billion per year. Mr. Norden was responsible for three main business units: real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs), retail mortgage loan origination, and wholesale mortgage loan origination.
In a 2013 interview with trade magazine National Mortgage Professional, Mr. Norden discussed his leadership philosophy at OFS and underscored the importance of his time at the helm. He explained that his experience at OFS instilled in him a commitment to channel diversity in high-risk macro environments. Further, his time at OFS reinforced the importance of geographic diversity in a national real estate environment characterized by unique, changeable local markets.
“My model is diversity, both from a channel perspective, as well as a geographical perspective,” he told the magazine.
Following OFS’s sale to Bimini Capital Management, Mr. Norden stepped down from day-to-day operations and his title as CEO and president, though he remained on board as executive vice president for another two years.
Prior to launching OFS, Mr. Norden purchased Olde Towne Mortgage Company, where he served as president and CEO. Under his leadership, the company changed its name to First Town Mortgage Corporation and was eventually purchased by Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation in early 1999.
Peter Norden in the Community
Mr. Norden is active in the residential mortgage lending community at both the state and national levels. He is currently on the board of directors for the Mortgage Bankers Association and a member of the Fannie Mae Customer Advisory Board. Previous board memberships include the Fannie Mae CEO Advisory Board, FHLMC Advisory Board and the GMAC/RFC National Advisory Board. Mr. Norden is also a past president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey and remains an active member.
At the national Mortgage Bankers Association, Mr. Norden serves on the residential board of governors (RESBOG), which oversees MBA’s single-family residential membership and establishes the organization’s positions on issues of importance to residential lenders and mortgage professionals.
As a seasoned residential mortgage lending executive, Peter Norden has contributed to and been interviewed for several industry publications, including National Mortgage Professional Magazine and Mortgage Professional America. He is committed to building the industry’s bench for the coming decades, devoting time to mentorship and professional development work with rising professionals in the field.