Washington Mutual Moves Mortgage Divisions to Park

Wholesale, Retail Operations to Occupy 35,000 Square Feet on Rosewood Drive

Washington Mutual, Inc., is bringing a variety of wholesale and retail mortgage operations under one roof after signing a lease for 35,000 square feet of space at 4450 Rosewood Drive in Hacienda.

The new office will accommodate 125 employees in the company's retail loan division, serving customers obtaining loans from the bank's branches throughout Northern California. Another 90 employees will manage Washington Mutual's wholesale accounts, serving the independent mortgage brokers who do business with the company.

A Competitive Advantage Both the retail and wholesale mortgage divisions are growing rapidly, which is part of what necessitated the move. Washington Mutual also sees competitive advantages emerging from its new location.

"We can centralize many of our operations in Northern California," explains Dan Ward, retail mortgage regional sales manager. "Our underwriting has been performed in Stockton and Richmond, and we've been generating loan documents in Stockton. The new office will allow each of these functions to be brought together under one roof and the flow will be much faster."

The increased speed in approving and processing loans will benefit both the company and its customers.

"Technology and the speed of decision is critical to remain competitive in the future," Ward adds. "We want to be able to approve the loan on the spot and be able to fund the loan within a very short period of time. What's critical to maintaining a competitive position in today's market and even moreso in the future is increasing your level of service, and that's exactly what we're after."

A Central Location for Wholesale The wholesale division is looking to create many of the same efficiencies that are important on the retail side. The new Hacienda location will bring together personnel who had formerly worked in four different locations in San Ramon and Dublin. Kevin Gaughan, the vice president of wholesale lending who oversees the group, hopes that the new location will also accommodate the division's rapid growth.

"We, out of this office, will do $5 billion in home loans in 2001," he explains. "We kept growing out of our office spaces so now we've combined those locations."

The growth will continue in the first quarter next year as employees of North American Mortgage Company will become part of Washington Mutual as part of a $5.2 billion merger with Dime Savings.

With the home mortgage and refinance market showing no signs of slowing, however, Gaughan expects even more growth. "We are continually hiring people," he says. "I've been in the industry since 1979 and this is by far the busiest time I've ever experienced." .

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