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LoanDepot adds former HUD deputy secretary to board

Pam Patenaude served as the top day-to-day administrator at HUD for about 1.5 years

Nonbank mortgage lender loanDepot appointed Pamela Hughes Patenaude, a former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Trump administration, to its board of directors.

LoanDepot also added Mike Linton, a marketing expert who currently serves as chief revenue officer at genomics firm Ancestry, to the board.

“Mike is well known for his unique ability to build strong customer relationships and brands, and Pam has extensive experience solving complex problems in the real estate and housing policy space,” loanDepot chairman and CEO Anthony Hsieh said in a statement. “Together, they will be instrumental in helping our board and management to drive long-term value for our stakeholders by delivering on our mission to delight customers and exceed their expectations.”

Patenaude was second-in-command at HUD and ran day-to-day operations at the agency, which had a budget of $52 billion. She oversaw more than 7,000 workers across 65 offices. Patenaude had joined the agency as a 21-year-old during the Reagan administration. She also spent time as President George W. Bush’s assistant secretary for community planning and development at HUD.

In December 2018, Patenaude submitted her resignation amid a disagreement with the Trump administration over the fair housing rule, other housing policy matters, and the White House’s attempt to block disaster-recovery money for Puerto Rico, the Washington Post reported.

The board moves bolster a lender that’s climbing the ranks of mortgage originators nationwide, but has a flagging stock. The stock debuted in February at $10.72 a share, reached as high as $39.85 a share, but is was trading at a record-low $10.37 a share on Friday.

Like other lenders, retail-focused loanDepot has watched margins compress over the last few quarters as volumes slow and the overall market moves toward purchase business. Closed loan volume in the first quarter increased to $41.5 billion from $37.4 billion in the fourth quarter, but margins shrank to 2.71%, a 67-basis point decline. The lender will release its second-quarter earnings statement on Aug. 3. Inside Mortgage Finance this week reported that the lender is the sixth-biggest in America.

LoanDepot this week also launched a proprietary bundle of home buying and selling services through its affiliate, mellohome. Customers will be eligible for up to $7,000 cash back from mellohome at the close of the transaction, including a close-on-time guarantee of $1,000 cash back if the company doesn’t closes within 25 days of preapproval, among other perks.

LoanDepot said that through mellohome, it has a network of over 4,000 real estate professionals across the country as well as two title firms, American Coast Title and Closing USA, to perform title work in 44 states.

The play is similar to that of other companies in the real estate financing space, including so-called “iBuyers” and “power buyers.” Opendoor, for example, is giving prospective buyers 2% back if they finance a purchase through Opendoor Home Loans, which equates to $5,000 on a $250,000 purchase. They’re also ditching origination, processing and underwriting fees, as well as guaranteed closings, to woo buyers.

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