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Stearns invests in smaller mortgage bankers to build retail business

Stearns Lending is buying large equity stakes in smaller mortgage banking companies as it looks to grow its retail loan production business.

In the first of these transactions Stearns closed on its purchase of a 50.2% equity interest in Certainty Home Loans.

"Today's successful mortgage companies understand the power of economies of scale and combined resources," Stearns CEO David Schneider said in a press release. "Certainty Home Loans' strong retail, consumer-centric model, along with our wholesale, retail and strategic alliance sectors, allows us to provide our employees, customers and partners with industry-leading technology and resources that help the dream of homeownership become a reality. For Stearns Lending, the partnership helps accelerate the growth of Stearns' retail sales channel and broadens our geographic footprint."

Stearns is headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif.

The deal has been termed as a "shared equity partnership" by the two companies and is the first in Stearns' Preferred Partnership program. Plano, Texas-based Certainty Home Loans keeps its leadership, brand name and culture, but gets access to Stearns' technology and capital markets expertise.

Starkey Mortgage Adds Three New Branch Managers

Starkey Mortgage has announced that Jason Browning, Adam Hart and Ken Witte have joined the company as branch managers. Browning will serve as area branch manager in Plano, Texas; Hart will manage Starkey’s Savannah, Ga. Branch; and Witte will serve as branch manager of the Atlanta Central Branch. In total, these veteran managers bring more than 60 years of mortgage experience to the Starkey team.

“Starkey Mortgage is entering a new chapter of growth and expansion and investing in our platform and the best talent are priorities,” said Doug Casbon, EVP of National Production manager at Starkey Mortgage. “Jason, Adam and Ken are highly regarded mortgage banking managers and influencers within their markets. We are confident that their experience and knowledge coupled with our strong operations will be instrumental to our future success in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Savannah and Atlanta markets.”

Witte (pictured left above) brings 28 years of mortgage experience to Starkey and was sales manager at Element Funding prior to joining Starkey Mortgage. Hart (pictured center above) comes to Starkey Mortgage with 15 years of mortgage experience, most recently as VP, Regional Sales Manager at United Community Bank in Savannah. Witte and Hart will report directly to John Steele, regional manager for Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida.

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