Patton Gade, the top U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage loan officer last year, has joined brokerage firm UMortgage, the company announced on Tuesday. 

Arizona-based Gade, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, will continue to originate loans and hold the national director of military lending position at UMortgage. He’ll join forces with fellow veteran loan originator Jay Bunte in the brokerage firm. 

Gade, 50, was in the Army for 8.5 years and did some other sales jobs before joining the mortgage space about a decade ago. He worked for several mortgage companies, including Bridgeview Bank GroupMutual of Omaha Mortgage, Inc. and Paramount Bank. His latest position was as a branch manager at loanDepot, where he spent about two years. 

“Joining UMortgage is going to be a great thing for me because they are entrepreneurial; I have an opportunity to build something from the ground up,” Gade said in an interview. “loanDepot is massive; it’s like a cruise ship changing direction, difficult to do. But with a speed boat, you can change direction quickly.”

A spokesperson for loanDepot wrote to HousingWire that the company has a tradition of attracting and developing ‘top-notch talent.’

“We thank Patton for his many contributions to loanDepot and wish him the best in his next chapter,” the spokesperson said.  

Regarding his transition from the retail to the wholesale channel, Gade said the broker channel doesn’t have “different layers of management and oversight between the originator and the company,” which results in savings passed on to the buyer. 

In terms of products, Gade said he will have the opportunity to access VA construction loans at UMortgage. Gade said he cannot recruit anybody employed by loanDepot, so he’s transitioning to UMortgage alone.

Gade originated $165.4 million in mortgages in 2022, with a total of $135.7 million in VA loans, enough to become the top VA loan officer in the country, according to the Scotsman Guide

Mortgage tech platform Modex, however, shows that Gade originated $117 million so far this year, consisting of $90.3 million in VA loans (77% of the total). Most of his loans this year, precisely 89%, were purchases.

UMortgage, a broker shop and non-delegated correspondent lender, reached $1.23 billion in mortgage production this year, but VA loans represented only 17.6% of the total, according to Modex.  

UMortgage has 324 active loan officers and 40 branches, per NMLS. The brokerage firm claims it gains 65 basis points from each loan, works with 20 lenders and takes 14 calendar days on average to close a loan.   

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