Father-Son Duo Share Hard Work, Success

Lenders Asset Management Corp., a nationwide REO management company based in Littleton, Colo., is now providing to any institution holding REO portfolios access to its national network of REO suppliers and industry contacts.

The move is a reflection of the solid relationships the company has created during its 20 years in business through the LAMCO network (http://www.lamconetwork.com). This Internet portal connects lenders, investors, consumers and others with suppliers of REO services throughout the country.

In an interview with Managing REO, Frank Hawkes, founder of LAMCO, describes what the REO industry was like around the time he started the company back in 1989. Brandon Hawkes, and his father, Frank Prior to forming LAMCO, Mr. Hawkes developed an REO database with MNC American Corp., a part of Maryland National Bank. The REO division he ran covered all of the industrial banks that were going through the crisis in the 1980s that would eventually cause Maryland National to close down all of the Colorado locations.

“Back then the foreclosure issues surrounded the oil company crashes in Wyoming and Nebraska. Oil companies were folding up over night, and then of course, foreclosures picked up. People were literally leaving their keys in the mailboxes, calling us up, and saying, ‘Hey that’s where our keys are, come and get our house.’ It was really a sad situation, even back then how this all started,” recalls Mr. Hawkes.

With the industrial banks in Colorado, foreclosures in the state went through the roof, he says. “Then, there was a trickle down, kind of a domino effect nationwide. The crisis then literally closed our banks down. I was one of the last officers in the state of Colorado with Maryland National Bank. That’s where I saw a real need for an asset management company to help these banks out. LAMCO liquidated the $50 million of MNC’s portfolio."

When Mr. Hawkes first developed the REO division at Maryland National, he ran it with only a handful of employees. The entire staff often worked six days a week. During that time, there were vendors but there were no property management companies like there are today.

“I think LAMCO was one of the first property management, asset management companies to represent banks started in the late eighties. LAMCO has always been busy. In fact, when the economy was the best, it had one of its banner years. We’ve always had steady growth, we’ve never had any slow times,” he says proudly.

Through the different cycles in real estate over the past 20 years, through the peaks and valleys in the mortgage industry, LAMCO has maintained steady growth through long-term relationships with key clients, adds Frank’s son, Brandon, who is CEO of the company.

Originally, Brandon tells Managing REO, he didn’t set his sights on joining the family business and asset management. He actually left Colorado for a while and took the corporate career path with two major communication companies.

“It came to a point … a wonderful golf game between my father and I. He said, ‘I really think we are on to something. We’re growing significantly. There’s some good growth, good movement.’ A great father-and-son relationship over a golf game, he made a job offer to me, and I left one industry to join another,” he recalls.

“That was seven years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been a wonderful ride, he declares. “A lot of family members cannot work together. That’s one of the things we’re extremely proud of. People joke, they say, ‘You two finish each other’s sentences. You think alike.’ We have a wonderful working relationship.”

This company has always been Frank’s baby. He started it, developed it, and watched it grow. He took LAMCO from a state presence to a nationwide, coast-to-coast company representing the thought leaders of the industry. Throughout the whole journey, it’s been an adventure for the entire family.

“We’ve had a lot of fun growing. Vicki, my wife, Brandon’s mom, has been a part of it from day one. She was very much of a backbone for both of us. It’s been a very good family business. We all work well together,” says Frank.

In terms of strategizing for business, the company has never wanted to give the image of a mom-and-pop shop.

“What we’ve really found over the last several years, due to the level of service and rapport that we deliver to them, when they find out the dynamics of what’s behind LAMCO, these values and what we really deliver with our staff, it’s been a tremendous asset,” describes Brandon.

“When you are talking about outsourcing, you need to be able to trust that outsourcer and have trust in their experience. Currently, our present situation, with the spotlight focusing on our industry, we have a lot of competitors jumping into this field.”

In today’s market, people have changed the core competencies of their business. Now they are asset managers and REO managers. Or you will see individuals that are just opening up companies.

“We have the 20 years experience behind us and consistent relationship building. You don’t carry one of the top five lending institutions for 17 years without having honesty, integrity within your organization and top level service,” declares Brandon.

Two years ago, the big question on the table for most lenders was, “Do we insource or outsource?” Now, the father-son duo says, for major players who sit down to roundtable discussions, the question is, “How do we manage our outsourcers, and how do we scale internally to manage that outsourcer?” Brandon stresses that one of the big benefits to a company like LAMCO is that it uses the latest technology out there, the most cutting edge.

“We give that ability to scale. Banks don’t have to worry about hiring 100 employees to their headcount over night. We can scale for any of that volume they need to outsource.”