Over the last the last few years, Stearns Lending saw its mortgage origination volume grow from $5.7 billion in 2011 to $26 billion last year. Overseeing that growth was CEO Brian Hale, who joined the company in 2012.
But Monday, May 15, 2017 was Hale’s last day as Stearns Lending’s CEO.
According to Stearns Lending, Hale stepped down as CEO on Monday and is being replaced by David Schneider, who recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Walter Investment Management Corp. and president of Ditech Financial before abruptly leaving those positions last year.
Stearns Lending’s release does not provide a reason for Hale’s departure, simply stating that he is “stepping down,” effective May 15.
According to William Cary, Stearns Lending’s chairman of the board, Hale will stay on at the company through the end of the month to aid the transition to Schneider.
“Brian has helped lead Stearns through a period of meaningful diversification and expansion in its business, and during the transition, Brian will continue to assist the company through May 31st,” Cary said.
“We thank him for his contributions to Stearns,” Cary continued. “We are excited to have David join the Stearns team and are confident in his ability to move the company forward into its next phase of growth.”
During his tenure at Stearns, Hale oversaw the company’s growth beyond wholesale lending into correspondent, retail and consumer direct.
Hale also shepherded Blackstone’s 2015 acquisition of a majority stake in Stearns Holdings, the parent company of Stearns Lending.
After the deal was announced, Hale told HousingWire that the Blackstone deal (or a deal of its type) had been on the company’s radar for some time.
Shortly after joining Stearns Lending in 2012, Hale sale that he met with the Blackstone about a potential deal, but said that timing wasn’t right at that point.
Then, in 2014, the company engaged JPMorgan on the investment banking side to assist Stearns in capturing and reviewing a number of opportunities for the company.
That led to the Blackstone deal.
“What we see, from sitting in my chair, and I’m ecstatic about the announcement, is that we now have a partner that has exceptional access to the capital markets as a true partner in the business,” Hale told HousingWire in 2015.
“They bring immense expertise and financial acumen to the table for us,” Hale continued.
“Blackstone as a partner, and as a key stockholder, brings with it immense corporate finance expertise,” Hale said. “Their industry leading profile, along with Nadim (Blackstone Managing Director Nadim El Gabbani) and his team, blew us away with the depth of the homework they had done. They have exceptional knowledge of the industry. And we just believed that as partners it was a 1+1=28 kind of opportunity for both organizations.”
Due in part to that deal and in recognition of his impact on the mortgage industry, HousingWire Magazine named Hale one of its inaugural Vanguard Award winners, an award reserved for the top leaders in the business.
Now, Hale is leaving Stearns Lending behind and moving on.
“Over the past few years, Stearns has become a leading, national player in mortgage lending and has, what I consider to be, the best team in the industry,” Hale said in a statement. “I have been honored to serve as CEO and I believe that David Schneider will continue to build upon the strong foundation the company has established.”
As Hale mentioned, Schneider now takes over at Stearns.
Before coming to Stearns, Schneider held a significant role at Walter Investment.
When Walter merged two of its well-known subsidiaries in 2015, forming Ditech Financial by combining Green Tree Servicing and Ditech Mortgage Corp, the company said that Schneider would lead the company’s mortgage servicing business and Patricia Cook would lead the company’s originations business.
But that arrangement only lasted a few months, as Walter announced in February 2016 that Cook would be leaving the company, placing Schneider in charge of Ditech’s servicing and origination businesses.
But then, after just eight months, Schneider left Walter and Ditech without warning.
According to Walter Investment’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Schneider’s departure is “related to a broader plan to realign the company’s management structure.”
Prior to joining Walter and Ditech, Schneider held positions as president and chief operating officer of CitiMortgage, president of Washington Mutual Home Loans, senior vice president for servicing strategic initiatives at JP Morgan Chase, and president and CEO of Vericrest Financial.
In a statement, Glenn Stearns, the founder of Stearns Lending, thanked Hale for his service to the company and welcomed Schneider into the fold.
“I am so proud of Brian and all that he and the team accomplished over the past five years,” Stearns said. “He has been an exceptional leader as well as a great friend and I wish him the best. I am thrilled to welcome David to the team, and am excited about the possibilities for the future of the company.”
Schneider shared in Stearns’ excitement.
“It is my privilege to be appointed to lead Stearns Lending,” Schneider said. “I look forward to working with Stearns’ world-class team to continue the company’s success.”