Mortgage lender Caliber Funding launched a correspondent lending channel, expanding its production capacity, the company announced at the Mortgage Bankers Association Secondary Market Conference & Expo on Sunday.

"The departure of several large correspondent investors left a significant void in supply, and therefore there is a tremendous opportunity for independent mortgage lenders like Caliber," said Jim Ferriter, president of Caliber.

The new correspondent product aligns with Caliber's announced merger with Vericrest Financial earlier this year. The new step into the correspondent lending channel follows the firm's goal to create a full-service, consumer-focused residential mortgage banking organization offering both loan origination and servicing options.

 "As an agency-approved lender, Caliber is not only well positioned to meet this demand, but is also able to play a role in the revitalization of the secondary market," said Ferriter.

Additionally, Caliber is opening two fulfillment centers in Florence, S.C. and Irving, Texas to enhance customer service for its partners and customers.

"The team we brought on to lead our correspondent channel is exceptionally talented and experienced. I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication to making this launch possible," said Joe Anderson, CEO of Vericrest Financial.

The new team will be led by Patricia Shumate, senior vice president of correspondent lending, who brings over 20 years of experience to the role.

Tag Gallaher, vice president of correspondent operations, and Pat Gilmore, vice president of correspondent sales, also will play key roles in the new division, bringing 36 years of combined experience.