Embrace Home Loans continues to transform itself to new market opportunities/conditions

MIDDLETOWN, RI – Perennially selected as one of the Best Places to Work in Rhode Island, Embrace Home Loans has transformed itself well beyond the company that won the first of those recognitions eight years ago.  This one-time single business model, operating from a sole facility in Middletown, has grown to a multi-sales channel national organization.   In addition to the Direct Origination Division, which Embrace founded 30 years ago, the company now has a Retail Branch Origination Division, and most recently launched a Correspondent Origination Division.  According to President, Kurt Noyce, “each of our new investments were strategically planned to address what we all knew would be the expected rise in interest rates, and thus the predictable decline in mortgage refinancing…we feel fortunate to have acted on both well before the earlier-than-expected rate rise.”

Embrace has been a long-time industry-leader in Direct-to-consumer lending.  Known for its best-in-class customer identification and creative marketing competencies, Embrace has provided refinancing solutions to homeowners (serving over 18,000 in 2012) across the Nation from its well-trained, fully licensed loan officer corps working in Rhode Island.  This Division was well positioned to optimize the Government’s-stimulated interest rate reductions during the Recession, and thus grew in proportion to the prolonged Refi-Boom.

However, after 26+ years running a centralized operation, Embrace entered the Retail Branch Origination space in 2009 by acquiring selected assets from a 13-year old firm, Mason Dixon Funding, headquartered in the Greater DC area, and comprising of 8 offices.  Embrace has strategically grown the $15m per year Gross Revenue organization, to now 20 offices, including additions this summer in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama, more than doubling their Annual Revenue ($35m+).  The Retail Division is focused on Home Loan Purchase transactions, with a veteran sales force serving realtors and builders.  Embrace will continue to add new offices in strategic markets across the country, including New England.  The latter to be surely buoyed by Embrace’s hiring of former Bank of America sales executive in New England, Mike Watkinson, this Spring.

Additionally, Embrace is well along in talks with other retail company acquisitions, aiming to announce another deal in early Fall, which will further the company’s transformation from refinancing to purchase loans.

In a further move to equip the company for the decline in Refinancing, this Summer Embrace launched its Correspondent Division.  This group will serve community banks and smaller mortgage lenders.  Embrace’s experience and long-earned market capabilities, will provide these institutions access to Embrace’s technology, credit skills and capital market expertise.  This division now has Account Executives in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and New Jersey.

Recognized recently as one of 2013 Fastest-Growing Companies in Rhode Island, Embrace just this summer alone has hired 21 new employees in June, 23 in July, and 14 in August.  Embrace’s growth, however, is not exclusive to its offices outside Rhode Island.  The company expanded the campus in Middletown, occupying now over 80,000 square feet, and launched a 50+ employee facility in East Providence this May.  Of the 565 Embrace employees, over 400 work in Rhode Island.

Embrace, no different than any in the industry, is not immune from the impact of rising interest rates. The Mortgage Banker’s Association (MBA) states refinancing activity has dropped 60% from the point in May when rates began their climb.  Embrace, like any business, will need to adjust its staffing expenses in those departments that are exclusively focused on refinancing, but as Noyce shared, “we have been working at record levels these last few years – record low rates, record business activity, record staffing levels – as markets normalize, we will too…but thanks to the vision of our founder, and the discipline of our leaders, Embrace made the critical investments in several emerging areas to hedge against this climb, and we fully expect, and are well along on plans, to grow Embrace to new record levels within the next year.”

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