Real Estate Mortgage Network launched a correspondent lending division from its just-opened wholesale fulfillment center in Irvine, Calif., joining the wave of smaller lenders lining up to grab business some larger commercial banks don't want.

Many commercial banking institutions are abandoning the correspondent lending market. Yet, at the same time, companies such as Irvine, Calif.-based Impac Mortgage Holdings and PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust are cultivating of that open land.

North Texas banking and financial services firm NexBank launched a correspondent lending group in 2011 to accommodate changing conditions of mortgage regulation reform. First Guaranty in 2011 also expanded niche offerings for correspondent lenders. And Quicken Loans Mortgage Services introduced a correspondent lending platform of its own in May 2011, as well.

REMN, a privately held non-bank lender says it combines the services of consumer retail branches with those of large-scale wholesale lending and online channels. The company employs more than 800 associates, operates five fulfillment centers and has more than 40 retail offices originating loans across the nation.

The launch of REMN’s correspondent division coincides with the addition of two key hires.

Bela Donine joined REMN as managing director of correspondent lending and will lead the strategic launch of the correspondent lending division. And Melissa Sherman, managing director of west coast operations, will provide support for the new division and manage wholesale fulfillment operations for the west coast.

“As REMN continues to invest physically and financially across the country, so does our necessity for building onto our superior leadership across the organization,” said Chief Executive Peter Norden.

Donine held senior executive positions with major national lenders, including Greenlight Financial, MAGI Advisors and Opteum Mortgage, overseeing risk management, wholesale operations and underwriting. Sherman worked on both the wholesale and retail sides of the industry, holding operational positions with GMAC ResCap and Icon Residential Lenders.