American Pacific Mortgage (APM) has scooped up roughly 150 employees from 20 AmeriFirst Financial Inc. branches since December 2022, APM confirmed.
APM learned the Arizona-based lender’s branches were ceasing originations last month, which led to an opportunity to recruit branch managers, loan originators and processors to make up for the lost production this year, APM’s CEO Bill Lowman said in an interview with HousingWire on Monday.
“All of our production is down, the industry volume is off considerably and I think there’s an opportunity for well-positioned, well-capitalized lenders,” Lowman said.
Lowman declined to comment on rumors of a buyout of AmeriFirst Financial, adding that the recruitment was not an acquisition of assets nor a merger and acquisition (M&A). A former branch manager had told HousingWire that APM bought AmeriFirst Financial in December and APM “started rolling out the APM network.”
Not every loan officer that wanted to join APM was hired, however. The focus was on high-producing and profitable branches — and the loan officers who were part of those branches were brought over, Lowman explained.
“We can get them (LOs) running in about 30 days. There’s a concurrent period in the 30 days where they’re getting trained while waiting for their licensing to come through,” he said.
According to Lowman, the compensation structure at APM is similar to what the LOs were receiving at AmeriFirst Financial.
“To the extent possible, as long as it’s compliant, we try to bring it as close to the comp as they were at their previous company,” he said.
APM is no stranger to scooping up LOs from lenders that shut down. In October, APM hired employees from Finance of America (FoA). The company had just shut down its forward business following an announcement that it would close its wholesale and non-delegated correspondent channels that month.
The California-headquartered lender, which has seen origination volume plummet to $13 billion in 2022 from the previous year’s $23.6 billion, plans on expanding in 2023.
The lender said it plans to hire more employees in production and emphasized that it is active in the M&A space as well. In July, the California lender bought Tucson, Arizona-based Sunstreet Mortgage, Lowman said.
Sunstreet Mortgage originated $345 million loans over the past 12 months with two active loan officers licensed in three states, data from Modex showed.
“We are definitely focused on increasing market share and volume,” Lowman said.
American Pacific Mortgage currently has 445 branches, more than 2,000 active loan officers and and 52 licenses, according to mortgage data platform Modex.