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Mortgage Originator Relaunches Operations

Interfirst Mortgage Company (Interfirst), a private equity-backed mortgage originator, announced today it has relaunched operations with a new proprietary loan origination technology platform and an expanded business model—featuring both a wholesale platform and a soft launch of a new consumer-direct retail platform—building on the company’s established reputation as an industry leader committed to quality originations, aggressive pricing, technology deployment, and risk mitigation throughout the lending process.

After placing operations on hold in 2017, Interfirst’s core leadership team spent the past two years continuing to build on previous innovations and refining the company’s proprietary technology systems to further improve its ability to originate the highest quality loans at markedly reduced costs to customers, while maintaining profitability.

Recently, Interfirst initiated a well-planned soft relaunch and began to originate mortgage loans through its wholesale and retail channels. The significant disruption to the origination and servicing markets in early 2020 accelerated the company’s plan to reenter the market with its new business model and a broader reentry in the mortgage space to help provide a needed and timely solution.

“2020 represents an unprecedented opportunity for a mortgage lender with real experience and substantial equity capitalization, no legacy challenges, and the capability to build a proprietary online experience,” said Mark Freedle, EVP, Production, at Interfirst Mortgage Company. “Interfirst is focused on transforming the way consumers obtain mortgages. Our objective is to enable our mortgage broker partners and loan originators to operate efficiently and friction-free through a technology-driven model based on service, speed, competitive products/pricing, and sustainability.”

“The industry disruption has also created an opportunity for private equity-backed Interfirst to acquire consumer-direct call centers and strategically located licensed conforming/government wholesale mortgage operations that have Ginnie and/or Fannie Seller Servicer tickets,” added Freedle. “The pace of our planned expansion to 50 states will depend on these strategic acquisitions.”

 

Wholesale Channel

Interfirst returns to a different wholesale market, one with a more level playing field. As valuations have normalized, investors are placing a renewed emphasis on the profitability of each loan. The company’s leadership has a deep understanding and experience in the mortgage industry and the vision and discipline to execute across all aspects of the business.

Interfirst is building out its wholesale product offerings by recruiting qualified mortgage brokers, many of whom have previously worked with the company, from around the country, and ultimately will be operating in all 50 states. Interfirst fully supports the mortgage brokerage community with a broker-centric approach, and the technology, competitive products/pricing, and service to help mortgage brokers build and grow a successful and sustainable business.

 

Retail Channel

In addition, Interfirst’s Development and Operations teams have been focused on reimagining the experience for homeowners with an upcoming launch of a consumer-direct channel. The Company’s new retail channel will feature a technology-enhanced call center and a team of experienced loan originators – with access to advanced technology solutions—and along with a non-commissioned sales team that is incentivized to sell the loan that is most advantageous to the customer. Interfirst is focused on finding ways to leverage technology to streamline the origination process for consumers and remove any friction and redundancies. The company will release more details about its branded entry to the retail market in the coming months.

“Although Interfirst’s business model has changed, its aversion to risk and commitment to quality remains the top priority,” commented Freedle. “Our guiding principles have always prioritized avoiding reckless lending practices or the origination of overly risky mortgages. The Company will continue to pride itself on the highest quality origination and servicing of mortgage loans.”

Interfirst is currently licensed in 13 states including Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, with plans in place to be licensed in all 50 states. This larger geographic presence will allow Interfirst to achieve and maintain critical production levels necessary to run a successful wholesale channel, decrease the Company’s exposure to regional downturns, and broaden its potential talent pool.

In 2017, Interfirst made the strategic decision to exit the market due to increased uncertainty and early warning signs, including oversaturation and overvaluation in the mortgage market. The Company wound down operations methodically and in an orderly manner without any impact on borrowers, mortgage broker partners, or investors.

The core members of the Company’s original executive team, who built Interfirst into a leading mortgage wholesaler, have returned to their previous roles, including Founder & Chief Executive Officer Dmitry Godin, CFO Ilya Shulman, COO Karen Gerli, Freedle, and General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer Clayton Hutchinson.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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