Mortgage firm looks to build big regional center in Franklin

PE-backed venture launched 18 months ago, has 1,100 loan officers on staff

An ambitious direct-to-consumer mortgage lender is setting up shop in Franklin with plans to build a regional origination center that could employ up to 100 people.

California-based loanDepot.com has picked up 20 loan officers — 15 of them from Surepoint Lending, which closed its Corporate Centre office in June — and is close to finalizing formal office space for those people, who are now working out of executive suites in the area. Managing the group is Jason Reaves, who was formerly with Lending Tree and also ran his own business.

Matt Murray, senior vice president of marketing at loanDepot, said that office footprint is likely to be about 20,000 square feet. Company officials have tapped Franklin to be one of seven regional centers that will serve the entire country and plan to grow their local operations to at least 50 people. That staff would handle about $500 million in loans per year.

loanDepot.com was launched in early 2010 in the Los Angeles area by Anthony Hsieh, an industry veteran who helped build two other similar ventures that were acquired by E*Trade and Lending Tree, respectively. The venture is being backed by private-equity firm Parthenon Capital Partners and now has 1,100 loan officers in 47 states.

"As loanDepot enters the new mortgage era, it's vital to our strategy for us to have multiple locations to serve the nationwide market," Hsieh said in a statement. "We were able to find and hire some of Tennessee's finest mortgage bankers and their early success is providing a strong foundation for our fast growth in the Franklin area."