Movement Mortgage buying big piece of Lennar’s Eagle Home Mortgage

Acquiring retail operations of homebuilder’s mortgage arm

Movement Mortgage has been through a couple rounds of layoffs this year, but when the nonbank lender laid off 180 employees back in October, CEO Casey Crawford said the company had no plans to step back.

Rather, Crawford, a former NFL player, told his employees that the company planned to go on offense to address the shrinking mortgage market.

And that’s just what the company has done.

Movement Mortgage announced Wednesday that it is acquiring a big piece of Lennar’s mortgage arm, Eagle Home Mortgage.

To be specific, Movement Mortgage is set to acquire the retail operations of Eagle Home Mortgage, adding 35 branches and 230 mortgage professionals to Movement’s operations.

“We want to grow, and we relentlessly look for purpose-filled, growth-minded mortgage professionals who want to make a meaningful difference in their industry and communities,” Crawford said in a statement. “We found all of those qualities and more in the team at Eagle Home Mortgage. I’m excited and honored to welcome these talented individuals to Movement.”

[WATCH: Movement Mortgage CEO explains to HousingWire why buying Eagle Home retail is win-win for everyone]

According to Movement, the deal is expected to add $1.5 billion in annual mortgage origination volume to its platform.

Movement said the retail outlets are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West regions, including offices and operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.

Movement said that it expects to retain the Eagle Home staff and integrate the business into its existing retail network of more than 650 branches and 1,500 loan officers nationwide.

For Lennar, the move to sell off its retail assets is not a move entirely away from mortgage. The homebuilder will still maintain its in-house builder mortgage division.

But the shift away from retail mortgage brings an end to an era of expansion for Eagle Home. Just last year, Lennar partnered with mortgage technology provider Blend to help digitize Eagle Home’s mortgage process.

But Eagle Home ran into trouble with the government last year, when it settled allegations that the lender violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying that it complied with Federal Housing Administration lending standards.

The Department of Justice had alleged that between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2011, Eagle Home knowingly submitted loans for FHA insurance that did not qualify. The DOJ also alleged that the mortgage company “improperly incentivized underwriters and knowingly failed to perform quality control reviews,” which violated HUD rules and contributed to Eagle Home’s submission of defective loans.

As a result of the settlement, Lennar’s mortgage arm was to pay a fine of $13.2 million.

And soon, Eagle Home will move away from retail lending and Movement will take over.

“Movement provides our loan officers and support teams with the industry’s best process and service, innovative technology and a culture that emphasizes caring for customers, teammates and communities,” Eagle Home Mortgage Senior Vice President Kisha Weir said.

The deal is expected to close later this month and financial terms were not disclosed.

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