After announcing new branch openings and executive hires this year, Nations Lending seeks to grow by forming a joint venture with an Indiana brokerage that employs more than 600 agents.

Flexibility and nimbleness are often touted as the top advantages of independent brokerages. All this November at Inman, we’ll explore what indies are doing to meet the moment as the market shifts. And we’ll consider how alternative brokerages are impacting the landscape. It’s Indie Broker and Alternative Brokerage Model Month!

Following four new branch openings and two executive hires this year, Nations Lending Corp. is taking a new approach to growth — a venture with Indiana-based Carpenter Realtors, a real estate brokerage with more than 600 agents.

The joint venture, Commitment Mortgage LLC, will provide Carpenter’s clients with “access to a strong independent mortgage lender, in-house loan officers, and fast loan assistance to real estate agents,” the companies said Monday.

Based in Indianapolis, Carpenter Realtors operates 33 offices throughout central and southern Indiana. Commitment Mortgage, headquartered in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, was issued a mortgage lending license by Indiana regulators in July.

Erick Cavalcanti

Mortgage industry veteran Erick Cavalcanti — known to his Facebook friends as the “Bald Mortgage Guy” — has been named president of the joint venture. On his LinkedIn profile, Cavalcanti lists past experience as a Nations Lending branch manager, and stints as a loan officer at Ruoff Mortgage, Horizon Bank and PNC Mortgage.

In addition to Cavalcanti, Commitment Mortgage sponsors three mortgage loan originators: Andrew Toliver, Sue Vyzral and Mark Weddle.

Dave Caveness

“We’re excited to bring home mortgage services into the mix we offer home buyers across central Indiana,” said Carpenter Realtors President and CEO Dave Caveness, in a statement. “For those buyers, the convenience this brings to the process is impactful.”

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, or RESPA, allows estate brokerages to operated affiliated businesses providing mortgages, title insurance, closing services and other settlement services to their clients.

When offering services to their clients through affiliated businesses, real estate brokerages must disclose that they have an ownership stake in the businesses, provide written estimates of what their services will cost, and make it clear that their clients are free to shop around to make sure they are receiving the best services and the best rate for those services.

RESPA regulations will be familiar territory for Corey Caster, hired by Nations Lending in 2019 as executive vice president of national production. The companies said Caster “will leverage his past experience running the joint venture channel at NewRez to lead this JV to success.”

Corey Caster

“We view the launch of this venture as the natural progression of our company’s growth,” Caster said in a statement. “Commitment Mortgage is an opportunity for both Nations and Carpenter to bring two strong companies together to create an enhanced experience for our borrowers and employees.”

The joint venture will retain a high percentage of its mortgage servicing rights through Nations Lending, so borrowers will get “a consistent, unified experience from the very start of their home search right on through to the application process and monthly payments,” the companies said.

Nations Lending is licensed to lend in 50 states and employs more than 1,200 workers at its Cleveland, Ohio, corporate headquarters and throughout 138 branches across the U.S. This year, Nations Lending has announced new branch openings in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Monona and Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Crystal Lake, Illinois.

In June, Nations Lending announced it had hired former Guaranteed Rate divisional manager Jeff Nelson as divisional sales manager for the company’s East Coast Branches. In August, Nations Lending announced the addition of another Guaranteed Rate veteran, Greg Griffin, to serve as vice president and central regional manager. As Guaranteed Rate’s senior vice president of strategic growth, Griffin managed a team that generated nearly $500 million in annual loan volume, the company said.

LoanDepot is another lender that’s pursued joint ventures with real estate brokerages and homebuilders as part of a strategy to originate more purchase loans. This month loanDepot announced a new joint venture with homebuilder National HomeCorp, NHC Mortgage, that plans to offer home loans in a dozen states.

The Foothill Ranch, California-based lender’s other joint ventures include Farm Bureau Mortgage (with Farm Bureau Bank), LGI Mortgage Solutions (with LGI Homes), Henlopen Mortgage (with Schell Brothers), BRP Mortgage (with Brookfield Residential), MTH Mortgage (Meritage Homes), MSC Mortgage (with Michael Saunders & Company), TRI Pointe Connect (with Tri Pointe Homes) and Day 1 Mortgage (with Century 21 Redwood Realty).

Get Inman’s Extra Credit Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly roundup of all the biggest news in the world of mortgages and closings delivered every Wednesday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Matt Carter

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