Guild Mortgage now has offices in the Buckeye State. The publicly traded mortgage lender announced Tuesday that retail branches are now open in Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. It’s the first foray into Ohio for the California-based retail lender.
The move signifies another step in Guild’s growing Midwest expansion. It opened three new branches in North Dakota in 2017; acquired St. Louis-based Cornerstone Mortgage in 2018, a move that added 17 offices in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas; and opened branches in Wisconsin in 2019.
Guild’s Columbus office will be led by loan originator Aric French, an Ohio native whose team worked on over 500 purchase mortgages last year, Guild said. French was previously a branch manager at Academy Mortgage Corporation, a direct lender. Guild’s Dayton office will be led by Nick Angelo, who has four years of mortgage lending experience. Angelo was most recently a branch manager at Geneva Financial. Prior to that, he worked as an LO at Fairway Independent Mortgage.
Ohio is an affordable destination for prospective homebuyers, even as home prices continue to rise – along with mortgage rates, which now sit above 3%. In Tuesday’s Case-Shiller report, Cleveland was the only city out of the 20 tracked to see home prices drop month over month.
In all, Guild, which went public in the fall and is led by Mary Ann McGarry, originated $35.2 billion in 2020, up 62% from the $21.7 originated in 2019. In the fourth quarter alone, the company generating $10.6 billion of originations. Net revenue increased 77% to $454.2 million compared to $256.0 million in 2019, and 44% of its closed loan origination volume came from purchase business.
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Like other mortgage lenders, margins narrowed for Guild during the fourth quarter. The lender’s gain-on-sale margins dropped to 436 basis points in the fourth quarter from 562 basis points in the third quarter, compressing profits.
Still, it’s clear the company is interested in expansion – and not just geographically. In its quarterly earnings call last week, McGarry said the lender was on the lookout for acquisition targets.
“We’re seeing a lot of IMBs that are kind of really thinking, maybe it’s time to cash in their chips,” McGarry said. “So we’re seeing activity, the pipeline of sellers is growing and the key is going to be just getting to the right valuation point…we’re very careful about price considerations and want to make sure that anything that we’re considering will definitely be reasonable.”
Headquartered in San Diego, Guild has approximately 4,400 employees serving customers from more than 200 retail branches in 32 states.