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Fairway Loses 8 California Branches To Rival Guild Mortgage | Inman

The defection of former Fairway division manager John Lowe and 40 colleagues who originated $350 million in loans last year “is equal to that of a mini acquisition.”

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After growing its footprint through acquisitions in recent months, Guild Mortgage has formed a new district with eight branch offices in Northern California by recruiting 40 employees who originated more than $350 million in loans last year away from rival Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.

Former Fairway division manager John Lowe jumped ship to Guild last month, the company announced Thursday, bringing along 20 high-performing loan officers, two area managers, six branch managers and nearly a dozen back-office staff members.

John Lowe

“Guild’s reputation and history of stability were a major draw for our group, giving us the confidence to make the move, become part of one of the best organizations in the industry and continue to build on the success we’ve achieved together,” Lowe said in a statement. “Guild’s business model and ability to service the majority of its home loans means each member of our team can make a long-term commitment to help every customer beyond the closing of a loan, which is a major differentiator.”

Lowe was with Fairway for just nine months, having previously served as a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage area manager from 1999 to 2014 and then spending eight years as a division manager at RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corp., according to his LinkedIn profile.

Some of the loan officers Lowe took with him — including Alejandra Torres and Mari Sanchez — had joined Fairway even more recently.

Lowe will report to Guild regional Vice President Michael Ferreira, managing a district with offices in Auburn, Corvallis, Folsom, Gardnerville, Riverside, Santa Rosa, Vacaville and Yuba City. He’ll supervise area managers Chris Owen and Joanne Hender; branch managers Doug Grenz, Don Petty, Gwen Chyz, Jeremy Kurtz, Marco Guerra and Steve Weninger; sales manager Debra Morsan; and six transaction coordinators and four processors.

In addition to Torres and Sanchez, loan officers making the move to Guild are Alex Alvarez, Alex Innocentes, Caleb Kurtz, Cameron Elkins, Carolyn Gregory, Cecilia Duran, Cole Wilson, Crystal Turben, Jennifer Guerra, Jeremy Massari, Joanna Busalacchi, Kandice Castro, Kelly Cort, Lisa Jones, Meghan Dinublio, Monica Cuevas, Tommy Allums and Vincent Piegaro.

Michael Ferreira

“While this was an organic move for the team, the size and annual production of this group … is equal to that of a mini acquisition,” Ferreira said in a statement.

Guild expanded its national network of retail branches by nearly 25 percent last month with the acquisition of Colorado-based Cherry Creek Mortgage, which operates 68 branch offices in 45 states.

The San Diego-based retail lender in February added 13 branches in four Southwestern states with the acquisition of Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Legacy Mortgage.

Guild kicked off its recent acquisition streak in December, paying $4 million to acquire the assets of a distressed lender, Wisconsin-based Inlanta Mortgage Inc., which operated in 27 states.

Guild became a top 10 non-bank retail lender in 2021 with the $265 million acquisition of South Portland, Maine-based Residential Mortgage Services Holdings Inc. (RMS), which employed 250 loan officers working out of 70 retail branches at the time.

Guild mortgage originations, 2007-2022

Source: Guild 2022 annual report to investors

RMS was Guild’s seventh acquisition since 2008, and those deals coupled with low mortgage rates helped it originate a record $36.9 billion in loans in 2021. Although originations plummeted by 48 percent last year as mortgage rates climbed, Guild managed to turn a $328 million profit last year, despite racking up a $15 million fourth-quarter net loss.

Guild remained profitable last year largely on the strength of its mortgage servicing business and by shedding about 1,100 employees as loan originations shrank by 48 percent to $19.3 billion.

In announcing its new Northern California district this week, Guild said it currently employs more than 4,000 workers at over 300 retail branches, maintaining ties with credit unions, community banks and other financial institutions in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

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