Mahwah, N.J.-based reverse mortgage lender Longbridge Financial announced several new additions to its wholesale department, citing increased business and overall growth experienced throughout 2020 as a primary motivator to expand its efforts in wholesale lending with strategic hires of reverse mortgage industry veterans.
The new hires are being made on the heels of what the company describes as a “banner year” for its efforts in 2020, doubling its growth in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)-backed Securities (HMBS) securitization volume and a sizable growth in its workforce in spite of the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Adding 3 reverse veterans to Longbridge
For the new hires, Longbridge has appointed Bill Nolan as wholesale sales manager, while Alissa Prieto and Francis Moses join as new core members of Longbridge’s national account executive team.
Nolan comes to Longbridge after serving for over seven years at Liberty Reverse Mortgage, where he served as correspondent sales leader. Prior to joining Liberty, he held previous positions at Genworth Financial and also served as a portfolio manager for the California Department of Veterans Affairs. In his new role at Longbridge, Nolan will oversee the company’s team of core national account executives, reporting directly to Longbridge’s VP Wholesale Lending and Sales Leader Adrian Prieto.
Francis Moses arrives at Longbridge with over ten years of experience in reverse mortgages across secondary markets and wholesale sales, and will provide education and support to brokers and lenders across the country as a member of the national account executive team at Longbridge. Alissa Prieto also has extensive experience in reverse, most recently working as a regional account manager with Liberty Reverse Mortgage while also having held a similar position at Reverse Mortgage Funding (RMF). Prior to that, she served as a sales VP at Premier Reverse Closings (PRC).
“These three new hires are top notch and their commitment to the reverse mortgage industry and proven track-record is extremely impressive,” said Melissa Macerato, EVP sales & marketing at Longbridge in an announcement of the hirings. “With the addition of Bill, Alissa, and Francis to our already stellar team of Account Executives, coupled with our focus on exceptional service and working with our clients in a team pod approach, this will go a long way in moving the needle in our bold expansion plans.”
Expanding after a ‘banner year’
The expansion of the wholesale division at Longbridge comes on the heels of what the company describes as a “banner year,” detailing that the company say 101% growth in HMBS securitization volume and 40% growth in the size of its workforce in 2020, in spite of personnel issues plaguing businesses worldwide due to the pandemic. Additions on the operations side played a large role in the company’s 2020 growth, and new additions to the wholesale team “are reflective of the company’s projected growth plans and […] sales goals for 2021,” a spokesperson said.
“We have an excellent foundation already built, but we love new ideas on how we can better the partner experience,” said Adrian Prieto in an email to RMD. “Whether that’s marketing ideas, operations efficiencies or overall distribution strategies to help increase market share, we will listen carefully. I imagine this will lead to initiatives we haven’t even thought of yet, but are always open to. We have a good track record of implementing new concepts effectively to better serve our clients.”
New training program development
Much of the success in employee growth also comes from the advancement opportunities that are available internally, the company says. Based on the current employment roster, 28% current employees have received a promotion during their tenure at Longbridge, according to the spokesperson. The success that the company has experienced in promoting from within has led to the development of a new management training program, which will provide guidance in management skills and offer opportunities for cross-training in several areas of the business.
“This program is just the latest in our ongoing commitment to providing all our employees with the resources, education, and support they need to thrive in a career with us,” Melissa Macerato told RMD about the program.
When asked what type of employees will have a path to management in the new training program, Macerato described a wide range of availability to all kinds of current Longbridge employees.
“An ongoing program to develop an employee’s management skills will be available to any employee who is moved into a management role,” Macerato told RMD. “We will consider and coach any deserving employee, regardless of level or position, for a management position. For example, our Branch Managers of our retail sales offices in Houston, Tex. and Charlotte, N.C. both started as loan officers. We strongly believe in promoting within and will provide the necessary training to support our people and this belief.”
2021 and beyond
In terms of leveraging recent growth as well as the experience of the company’s newest hires, some of the efforts Longbridge plans on undertaking also involves the forward, traditional mortgage space, according to Adrian Prieto.
“In wholesale, our main focus is to aggressively grow our broker and PA market share with a particularly strong push to expand in the forward broker space,” he says. “We made good strides in 2020, but are confident we can achieve much more in 2021 and beyond with this new team in place.”
Other recent growth efforts include the addition of a dedicated mobile application for loan servicing which was released in February, available via the Apple App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices. Additionally, ratings firm DBRS Morningstar assigned an “MOR RVO2” residential reverse mortgage originator ranking to Longbridge recently, its second-highest such rating.
According to recent Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) endorsement data compiled by Reverse Market Insight (RMI), Longbridge is the seventh largest reverse mortgage lender with 1,904 endorsements over the 12-month period ending in February, 2020. On the wholesale side, Longbridge is the fifth-largest lender in the space, logging 2,204 wholesale endorsements in the 12-month period ending in November, 2020 according to RMI data.