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Non-QM lender Citadel Servicing rebrands as Acra Lending

Move comes as non-QM market returns to form

Citadel Servicing Corporation (CSC), one of the country’s largest non-QM lenders, is rebranding as Acra Lending (Acra). The change is effective Monday.

“We are excited to rebrand our business as Acra Lending to reflect the substantial time and resources we have dedicated to internalizing customer feedback, fine tuning our financial and operating model, and investing in the best people and technology,” Keith Lind, executive chairman and president, said in a news release. “The goal of all these efforts is to build upon our strong foundation to provide industry leading service and programs to suit our customers’ needs.”

Then known as Citadel Servicing, the company was acquired by HPS Investment Partners, LLC in February 2020 for an undisclosed price.

When COVID-19 hit, the non-QM market disappeared. Liquidity had dried up and bond investors, which underpin the non-QM market, were running for the hills.

Citadel pressed pause on new originations. Its competitors Angel Oak Mortgage SolutionsNew Rez MortgageCaliber Home LoansAthas Capital GroupCarrington Mortgage Services and First Guaranty Mortgage Company all halted issuing non-QM loans, which comprise roughly 5% of the overall mortgage market. 

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Some non-QM lenders went out of business, while others laid off huge numbers of staffers and reorganized their businesses. Today, the non-QM market as a whole is returning to strength.

Citadel resumed non-QM lending in the summer. Following a four month pause, Lind said CSC boasted a “much stronger balance sheet, better technology on both the origination and servicing side of the business, upgraded guidelines and processes, and a diverse and experienced management team.”

Acra now has greater balance sheet and origination capacity with over $700 million of new term and non-mark-to-market warehouse facilities. The company will continue to invest in direct-to-consumer and correspondent channel, Lind said.

“Citadel had grown so quickly in recent years, and accordingly there were certain aspects of the businesses that stood to benefit from investment so we could restart lending in the best position for our company and our customers,” Lind said. “These investments were always part of our plan, but this shutdown allowed us to really accelerate their implementation and impact.”

Doug Perry, Citadel’s managing director of wholesale and retail, said the company expects to fine-tune its plan as the country recovers from the virus.

“Even though the sector paused for a short period, the demand for non-QM programs is stronger than ever,” Perry said, adding that real estate fundamentals have remained sound. “Whether that’s securing the balance sheet of the company or making the origination process more efficient for our brokers and consumers, practices will improve.”

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