Starting a mortgage lending business in a challenging economy is an ambitious undertaking, but Bay Equity LLC took that leap and has met with much success. In fact, it is possible the timing could not have been more propitious, especially as the firm continues its impressive growth trajectory, far exceeding initial expectations.
The company was formally created in June of 2007 and completed equity-raising one month later. Its founders spent nine months preparing for the start of operations by methodically getting the right systems and people in place.
Bay Equity officially opened for business in San Francisco in April 2008. It funded its first loan in May, and less than a year later it reached a "very significant" milestone, according to company President Brett McGovern: making $100 million dollars in residential loan funding in a single month. In the interim, on its way to becoming a true regional lender, it had opened an office in southern California. Subsequently, the firm closed new funding, made a substantial investment in technology, and fleshed out its management team. In January 2010 the mortgage lender announced it had surpassed $1 billion in loan production.
For Annie O'Gorman, operations manager at Bay Equity's Government Lending Center in Hacienda, it has been a meteoric rise. The Pleasanton facility, at 4305 Hacienda Drive, originally opened in May 2010 as an operations center but has since shifted focus to FHA lending. "In a nutshell, I am here to build and put together a team of FHA experts and instruct them in what Bay Equity does so well: embrace the highest standards, provide exceptional customer service, and be committed to lasting relationships with brokers, so each and every client and vendor will have an excellent experience every time they deal with us."
The Hacienda location is very strategic to the firm's expansion, O'Gorman relates. "We have such a deep pool of qualified staff members. In the past, before the market decline, a good 70 percent of people in the mortgage industry in the Bay Area were based here. This location gives us the ability to tap back into that market. The number of qualified applicants that I get is amazing!" she exclaims. "I am able to hire and groom the cream of the crop."
O'Gorman leads a team of 12, all specialized in different aspects of residential lending for both wholesale and retail channels. "I have a full team of underwriting staff, processing staff, document drawers, and funders-all the people it takes to get a loan closed." A 40 percent increase in the office's production rate over the last six months further confirms their skill set. O'Gorman comments, "Their average tenure in this business is about 25 years."
Bay Equity's adoption of the latest technology has also earned it a reputation as a "green" lender. Its Equity Decision Generating Engine (EDGE) is an easy-to-use on-line system that spans the entire lending process, from quick pre-qualification to full approval. "It's all paperless," O'Gorman enthuses.
For more information, visit www.bayeq.com or call the office at (925) 474 8388.
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