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Loan servicing giant Mr. Cooper will continue its quest to build a $1 trillion portfolio with a new chief financial officer overseeing the company’s finances — 25-year mortgage veteran Kurt Johnson.
Johnson, who held executive roles at Indymac Bank and OneWest Bank before joining Mr. Cooper in 2015 when it was still known as Nationstar Mortgage, succeeds Jaime Gow, who served less than a year in the role, the company announced Monday.
Mr. Cooper is also bringing back Christine Poland Paxton, who left for Wells Fargo in 2021, to take over Johnson’s responsibilities as chief risk and compliance officer.
“With his decades of experience in mortgage-banking, strong relationships with government and industry stakeholders and a detailed understanding of our platform, Kurt is already a major force at the company and in the industry,” Mr. Cooper Group Chair and CEO Jay Bray said in a statement. “In his new role, he will be instrumental in setting the company on the path to delivering strong and rising investor returns.”
In a regulatory filing, Mr. Cooper said Johnson, 48, will earn a base salary of $500,000, and be eligible to receive a cash bonus of up to $750,000 and another $750,000 in Mr. Cooper stock.
“With 25 years in the mortgage industry, Johnson has experience in originations, servicing, capital markets, portfolio management and financial planning,” the company said. Johnson also led the multi-year “project Titan” initiative to better align loan originations with servicing process flows.
Dallas-based Mr. Cooper’s main business is servicing — collecting monthly payments from mortgage borrowers. But the company also originates loans by offering refinancing directly to homeowners it’s collecting payments from.
Bray said Mr. Cooper executives were “delighted to welcome Christine back to the Mr. Cooper Group team,” less than two years after her departure to Wells Fargo, where she served as senior vice president, risk and controls.
“She is a well-respected leader, and I am confident that her experience and operational skills will be a great fit as we work to ensure Mr. Cooper continues to serve as a source of strength in the housing market,” Bray said.
Although Mr. Cooper booked a $923 million full-year 2022 profit on $2.46 billion in revenue, it essentially broke even in the final three months of the year as declining mortgage rates forced the company to write down the value of its mortgage servicing rights by $58 million.
Like other lenders, Mr. Cooper saw originations dwindle as mortgage rates soared last year, forcing the company to eliminate more than 1,000 jobs. Nevertheless, Mr. Cooper is on track to grow its mortgage servicing rights portfolio past the $1 trillion mark this year, after growing its servicing portfolio by 23 percent in 2022 to $870 billion.
Under the terms of a March 6 transition and separation agreement, Gow will be eligible to receive $1.07 million in compensation if he fulfills his obligations as a strategic adviser through Oct. 16, his official separation date.
The agreement requires Gow to refrain from making “defamatory or disparaging remarks” about the company “now or in the future,” or to work for Mr. Cooper’s competitors or recruit its employees for one year.
“I want to thank Jaime [Gow] for his leadership, dedication to the team and major contributions including building out our finance, accounting and tax planning teams to world-class standards,” Bray said in a statement. “We are a better company because of his efforts, and I appreciate that he will continue to support the team during this transition.”
Gow, a veteran of Capital Bank and First Horizon National Corp., joined Mr. Cooper in 2019 as a senior vice president and was appointed CFO in April, 2022. Gow, who was 47 at the time, succeeded Chris Marshall as CFO. Marshall continues to serve as the company’s vice chairman and president.
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