Open Mortgage hires half of Live Well Financial's laid-off staff

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Roughly 50 of the more than 100 staff members Live Well Financial let go after it stopped funding loans will join Open Mortgage, a multichannel lender in expansion mode.

The employees hired include Bruce Barnes, a former executive vice president, and Jim Cory, who previously was a senior vice president. Both worked in Live Well's operations division. Open Mortgage also hired Joshua Moran, a former senior vice president of wholesale and correspondent lending.

"Live Well Financial's team has unparalleled industry expertise in all phases of reverse mortgages and a love of technology, just like us," Scott Gordon, founder and CEO of Open Mortgage, said in a press release. "We are expanding the Open Mortgage family."

Open Mortgage plans to increase the size of its retail, wholesale and closed-loan seller mortgage channels with the help of the three executives and other employees that Live Well laid off. The hired staff members all have sales or operations backgrounds.

Live Well Financial stopped funding loans on May 3. The shutdown and layoffs stemmed from financial problems related to an unanticipated change in the market for collateral securing the company's warehouse lines and ensuing regulatory issues, according to a company letter obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Open Mortgage was the 11th largest originator of Federal Housing Administration-insured reverse mortgages and had less than a 2% market share during the 12-month period that ended in May, according to consultancy New View Advisors. During that period, Live Well was the seventh largest originator of HECMs and had a 4% market share. New View's rankings are based on FHA endorsement estimates.

Live Well's website lists an email and phone contact for loans in progress, but it is unclear whether it or another company is continuing to support the processing of those mortgages.

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Recruiting Layoffs Wholesale lenders Correspondent Reverse mortgages FHA