Independent Mortgage Bankers Set Originations Records

Stearns Lending Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., originated nearly $12 billion of residential mortgages in 2012, more than double its 2011 volume and a new company record. Of that, $9 billion came from wholesale (up 9% from the previous year) and $2.1 billion in retail, up 230%.

The remainder came from the correspondent channel, which the company said also set volume records.

Stearns now has a mortgage servicing rights portfolio of just under $9 billion. At the end of the third quarter, it had nearly $6 billion.

The company added 546 employees during the year and now has a total of 1,400 staff member.

Separately, McLean Mortgage Corp., Fairfax, Va., closed $1.5 billion in 2012, up 140%, which it said far surpassed the industry average volume increase of 40%. This is a new production record for the company.

Company executives cite an expanded sales force as one of the reasons for the increased volume. Pat Peavley, CEO, said the sales force increased 25% in 2012 over the previous and will grow even more as the company opens its first office in Maryland this year. The company is licensed in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and West Virginia, as well as in North Carolina (where it has two branches) and South Carolina.

Nathan Burch, president, said McLean’s focus on purchase is what helped set the production record.

“While much of the industry focused upon refinances which ran at over 70% of total industry volume for the year, McLean Mortgage was able to average more than 40% purchase volume in 2012. Our ability to hold underwriting turnaround times for purchase transactions to an average of 48 hours throughout 2012 was a key contributor to this success,” he said.