MILESTONES

The first quarter was a record-breaking one for Angel Oak Companies, which includes Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, Angel Oak Home Loans, and Angel Oak Prime Bridge.

The company, which specializes in mortgage credit, raised $291 million earlier this year to invest in non-QM mortgages. Earlier this month, Angel Oak closed its largest securitization to date, a $328.78 million offering comprised largely of non-QM mortgages.

And it looks like that’s just the start for Angel Oak. The company reported that it had a record of $340 million in non-QM mortgage originations in the first quarter, an increase of 62% over the same time period last year.

Angel Oak also announced that it is launching Angel Oak Commercial Lending, which will provide financing to commercial real estate owners, developers and investors. According to the company, Angel Oak Commercial will focus on short- and long-term financing for projects in various areas of commercial development, including multifamily, industrial, mixed use, retail, office, self-storage and other segments.

Clear Capital has big plans for the next half decade. In the first quarter of this year the company hired 61 new employees, including two new senior leaders, and 12 new sales team members, with plans to double the company’s size over the next five years. Of the first-quarter hires, 37 will be based out of its Reno, Nevada, headquarters. Last year, the company hired more than 100 people overall.

New American Funding continues to expand its footprint across the U.S., announcing its latest branch opening in California. It is expanding its Southern California territory with the grand opening of its new location in Indio. New American explained it recognized a rising need in the Coachella Valley area for affordable loan programs.

The new location is a full-service producer that will bring the region a range of purchase and refinance options with a focus on down payment assistance programs and niche loans.

And this expansion is just one of many in recent months. Most recently, the company announced it was expanding its footprint in the Seattle area.

M&A

Nearly two years ago, Two Harbors Investment Corp., a mortgage real estate investment trust, shuttered its mortgage securitization business, wherein the REIT bought jumbo mortgages and securitized them. Since then, the company has focused on investing in residential mortgage-backed securities, mortgage servicing rights, and other financial assets.

And now, the company is preparing to expand its agency RMBS business by acquiring CYS Investments, a fellow mortgage REIT that specializes in investing in agency RMBS backed by fixed-rate single-family residential mortgage loans, adjustable-rate mortgages and hybrid ARMs.

Mutual of Omaha Bank, the banking arm of insurance giant Mutual of Omaha, is expanding its mortgage platform by acquiring Synergy One Lending, a mortgage lender based in California.

Synergy One is licensed in 45 states and offers a variety of home financing products and services, including mortgages and reverse mortgages, through a network of loan officers, mortgage brokers, and direct sales channels.

One important piece of the deal for Mutual of Omaha: acquiring Synergy One will allow the company to expand into reverse mortgage lending.

Upon completion of the deal, Synergy One will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha Bank and continue to be based in San Diego.

LAUNCHES

Smart transaction technology company Ventanex has launched PaymentIQ, a new solution that powers auto-posting and smart workflow of exception items. PaymentIQ uses artificial intelligence and advanced imaging to streamline processing of complex, paper-centric payments, including bankruptcy checks, payoffs, wires, money orders and rejected items, the company said, adding that it is now in operation at a top-20 mortgage servicing company.

Guild Mortgage launched an advanced integrated sales and marketing platform to allow their loan officers a single platform to better connect with each customer. Guild 360 is a single sign-on that allows the company’s loan officers to maintain current homebuyer information throughout the lending process and specific to each customer lifecycle. The platform connects customer, transaction and referral data in one system allowing Guild’s loan officers to gain analytical insights to make more informed business decisions.

Bank of America revealed it is launching a digital mortgage platform, which allows customers to complete the mortgage application process either via their mobile device or on Bank of America’s website. The application has advanced prefill capabilities, which allows for many aspects of their mortgage application, like contact information and banking and investment data from Bank of America accounts, to be auto-populated.

The bank claims that this can significantly reduce the time and effort involved in applying for a mortgage and said that borrowers using the digital mortgage platform can receive a conditional approval the same day they apply.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has launched a consumer-facing website, FindAMortgageBroker.com, dedicated solely to promoting the advantages of working with a mortgage broker. The website is designed to help borrowers and real estate professionals to locate mortgage brokers in their area. UWM created the website to enhance awareness of mortgage brokers for three groups: consumers looking to get a residential loan; real estate professionals who want to build reliable partnerships and empower their clients; and bank or retail loan originators who are looking for the best place to work.

INTEGRATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS

Retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate announced it selected Total Expert as its strategic technology partner to deploy Red Arrow Connect, the lender’s new proprietary marketing operating system. The system is designed to bring together best-in-class marketing tools and existing industry leading technology, custom built by Guaranteed Rate’s in-house technology team, Total Expert explained in a press release.