Guild strikes a deal to acquire Academy Mortgage: sources 

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter and bring more than 600 LOs to Guild

Guild Mortgage has struck a deal to acquire retail lending rival Academy Mortgage Corp., which could result in an additional 600-plus loan officers for Guild across the country, multiple sources told HousingWire.

During an all-hands call Tuesday morning, Academy’s leadership informed employees about the M&A deal. Academy CEO Adam Kessler told staffers that he had been seeking either private capital or a buyer due to the challenging mortgage landscape. He said that Guild was a good fit to acquire the company, according to staffers who attended the Tuesday morning call.

Separate calls occurred after the meeting; one group was informed that their positions were being terminated, while the other were given details of a transition to Guild.

Representatives at both companies did not immediately reply to a request for comments.

Academy’s sales workforce and management will receive job offers and work as a division of Guild. A number of non-sales staff will not be joining the acquirer but will stay employed until April 15, when the deal is expected to close, sources said.

In a statement issued after this story was first published, a spokesperson for Guild said Academy’s operations staff and recruiters “are mostly joining Guild” and the “deal will close in the first quarter.”

“Academy boasts approximately 200 branches and more than 1,000 employees who will transition to Guild, including more than 600 licensed mortgage originators,” the companies said in a news release.

Guild believes it can add to acquired companies by reducing back-office costs, CEO Terry Schmidt recently told HousingWire. “If it’s a smaller organization that maybe can’t afford the back office any longer, maybe that’s [M&As] a value added to them,” Schmidt said.

Founded in 1988, Academy originated $5 billion in mortgages over the year ending in January, per mortgage tech platform Modex. Of the total, 61% were conventional loans and 80% were purchase loans. During this period, 15% of its volume was in Washington, 13% in Utah and 7.6% in Idaho.

Academy was not on the Inside Mortgage Finance (IMF) list of the 100 owned mortgage servicing firms as of third-quarter 2023 (No. 100, Primary Residential Mortgage in Utah, had $9.47 billion in MSRs).

Meanwhile, Guild’s volume reached $12.85 billion in the same period. It also focused on conventional loans (57.8% of its total) and purchases (81%), according to Modex data. But the company’s leading states in terms of origination were California (9.8%), Texas (9.4%) and Washington (9.3%).

Guild is also one of the country’s largest servicers, with $84 billion in MSRs as of first-quarter 2024, per IMF.

According to Guild, “Academy’s loan volume represents an approximate 25% increase in annual origination volume for Guild, based on results from both organizations through the third quarter of 2023.”

It added that, “The combined company would be the 8th largest nonbank retail lender in the country. Guild is currently the 10th largest nonbank retail lender.”

Publicly traded Guild has an ambitious plan of becoming a top 10 lender in the markets in which it has a presence. In 2023, it acquired Legacy Mortgage in February, Cherry Creek Mortgage in March and First Centennial Mortgage in August. 

This story was updated Tuesday afternoon to include comments from Guild Mortgage.

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