Guild Mortgage is adding to its Midwestern mortgage origination operations through the acquisition of Cornerstone Mortgage of St. Louis.

The acquisition fits with Guild's strategic plan to grow in existing markets and also acquire firms with a strong presence in new markets and proven histories of exemplary customer service and entrepreneurial cultures, its president and CEO Mary Ann McGarry said in a press release.

Guild Mortgage was tied with Quicken Loans for the highest customer satisfaction score in the most recent J.D. Power mortgage originator survey.

Guild Mortgage expanding

Cornerstone Mortgage has 19 offices in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois, and originated $1 billion in 2017. It is not related to Cornerstone Home Loans of Houston and currently employs 200 people.

Guild has a small presence in that area, with offices in Fenton, Mo., Overland Park, Kan., and Wichita, Kan. The San Diego-based company had loan volume of $15.9 billion in 2017. It has approximately 4,000 employees with more than 250 branches in 27 states. Guild currently services $38.5 billion of mortgages.

"We are confident that we will achieve significant growth and gain market share in the Midwest because of the quality of the Cornerstone people and their entrepreneurial spirit, which matches ours," said McGarry.

"Guild is working on additional enhanced technologies to improve customer service and we look forward to introducing them soon to support our Cornerstone team in the Midwest."

On the other hand it is also currently contesting a False Claims Act case with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Angi Stevenson, Cornerstone Mortgage's founder, current president and CEO, will become vice president of Guild's newly established Midwest region.

"They retain more than 85% of their loans for servicing. Joining Guild will enhance all that we do," Stevenson said in a press release. "We are looking forward to entering a new era of growth and better serving our customers with such a dynamic organization."

The price paid was not disclosed. Both companies are privately held. The transaction is expected to close by March 1.

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