Friday Funding is a HousingWire web series profiling the lending segment in depth, and highlighting the operations and the people that make this sector tick. In the latest installment, we sat with Patti White, vice president of Correspondent Lending with Norcom Mortgage, to learn how the company maintains strong and controlled growth.
HousingWire: Who is your target customer and why are they a good fit for your business model?
White: Our target customer is a community bank or credit union. We also have great partnerships with non-depository lenders. With our Emerging Correspondent program, our target is the broker-to-banker transition partners, who are seeking to expand their business.
HW: How does lending fit into your overall business strategy? In other words, what other lending divisions do you have, i.e. warehouse, wholesale, etc.?
White: Norcom Mortgage is one of the fastest growing lenders on the east coast and we are the #1 purchase lender in our state [Conn.]. We have a very strong retail and branch presence, as well as wholesale and correspondence. Norcom is a direct lender, with a substantial servicing portfolio.
HW: What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) your clients face today?
White: In addition to the recent rate volatility, I think increased regulation and compliance requirements are a challenge for all lenders.
HW: What made your firm decide to ramp up its correspondent division?
White: It was a natural next step for us, since we were working with many brokers in our wholesale channel who were making the transition to lender, and we wanted to offer them a correspondent outlet. Having a specific Emerging Correspondent channel allows us to concentrate on helping those partners increase their business.
HW: How broad of a market do you serve today and what does the next 12 months look like from an expansion standpoint?
White: Norcom is licensed in 17 states and we continue to expand to include all states in the Eastern Time zone. Our growth has been strong, but controlled.
HW: There have been a lot of new entrants into the correspondent market over the last 12 months, what is going to be the key that helps your firm rise above the rest?
White: As with all of our channels, I believe we excel in our service standards, and the quality of our people. We are constantly striving to be better, and it shows.
HW: With the increased competition in the correspondent arena, what do you think is the single most common mistake you see other correspondents making?
White: I believe what will make us shine above the competition is our commitment to quality, our strong capital position, and our customer-focused approach to our business.
HW: Tell us about the team you are building and who sits at the core of the operation?
White: We have exceptional people in all areas of our operation. Our management team works together effectively to ensure our process is streamlined and always customer focused. Patti White, VP of Correspondent, heads up the Correspondent channel.
HW: Correspondent lenders are paying a high premium for loans. What do you see happening to spreads over the next 12 months? How will rising rates impact your business?
White: Norcom has always had effective hedging strategies in place, and also has had a focus on primarily purchase business. While all lenders are coping with rate volatility and decrease in refinance business, Norcom is well-positioned for the future.
HW: Finally, with all the new compliance and regulation rules coming out, how will new compliance rules impact your business? What are you doing to stay on top of compliance, i.e. technology, new software, ect.?
White: We have a robust compliance area, headed up by our in-house compliance attorney Jeremy Potter. It is part of our culture and is embedded in our operations process. The quality of our loan portfolio speaks for itself.