The mortgage industry continues to rightsize, and On Q Financial is taking it as an opportunity to expand through loan officer recruitment and tapping into its network of homebuilders.

On Q Financial hired 100 loan officers over the past two months, bringing the total number to about 250, CEO Patrick Lamb said in an interview with HousingWire.

“It’s largely been people who have been together [in the same branches] for a long period of time and have been looking for another opportunity. In some cases, because they’d been acquired and they haven’t been happy with the changes to their organization since the acquisition,” Lamb said.

On Q Financial added loan originators to its biggest markets including Arizona, Washington and California as well as other states – Tennessee, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. 

Some LOs get hired into an existing branch but typically, LOs who were working in the same branches are placed together in a new physical branch. 

Licensed in 46 states, On Q Financial originated $2 billion in 2022 — 85% of the volume coming from its retail channel and 15% coming from the correspondent and wholesale channel, according to Lamb.

Following one major layoff and furlough in 2022, the Arizona-based lender eliminated costs and is positioned to grow revenue, executives said.

“The way I look at it is, most of us on the lending side have at this point cut or right sized or eliminated as much as we possibly can on the cost side of the business last year,” Lamb said.

“Most of what we’re adding is production headcount. There are some rent expenses that go with it (…) We’re bringing on production that will generate new revenue for us. We’re being very careful in adding any expense associated with that production.” 

The lender has brought on furloughed producers and operations staff on a selective basis as it grows production.

Tapping into homebuilders’ network

“We have a really long and strong history of working with homebuilders. We work with a number of them where we have very strong preferred and very tight relationships with home builders,” Lamb said.

New builds are a bright spot in a bleak housing market as buyers seek new builds due to the lack of resale inventory.

In April, On Q Financial and HomeCo Partners formed a joint venture named Partners United Mortgage – a consortium of real estate brokerages and a builder, HousingWire previously reported.

The goal of the JV is to enable smaller real estate firms and homebuilders to get into the mortgage side of the business by becoming one of the partners in the JV.

On Q Financial aims to have a relationship where its loan officers can cultivate relationships with small builders and real estate brokerage partners by helping a first-time homebuyer transaction or existing lending transactions. 

Lamb noted mortgage application activity is better than rate lock and funding activity, which implies that buyers haven’t been able to find homes yet.

“We’re engaged with other potential partners to go into that JV and expand it,” Lamb said.

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