Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Trend: the search for good brokers

As the mortgage lending cycle turns, it appears that 2007 will be another year of the broker. As the business contracts, wholesale lenders will seek out the best brokers they can find in an effort to shore up falling volume and to avoid investing in brokers that leave the business.

Many wholesale lenders have begun offering training and technology to brokers in an effort to entice them to enter into stronger lending agreements. A number of the nation's largest banks have launched Web portals that cater to the needs of brokers. In the end, a wholesale lender's ability to woo competent brokers is more likely to come down to the personal touch.

That makes American Brokers Conduit's (ABC) recent announcement newsworthy. The company, owned by Don Henig's American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. REIT, opened another wholesale lending branch office in Cranford, New Jersey, and hired former Wells wholesale lending executive Robert "Wes" Meyer to manage it.

ABC now has 33 branches across the country. While ABC's wholesale AE's can't be everywhere a top-10 lender's broker-facing portal can be, they can certainly shake hands with a broker more effectively. We'll be watching to see how much difference that makes as lenders duke it out for brokers this year.