Wholesaler EPM looks to convert retail LOs with new recruiting platform

By Real Estate News

Equity Prime Mortgage (EPM), which shifted to the TPO business after exiting its retail channel in the fall, has embarked on a new chapter. EPM wants to help grow the industry’s wholesale channel through its newly launched broker recruiting website.

BLVR – a marketing and promotional campaign launched by EPM on Monday – aims to reach as many retail loan officers to provide information about the wholesale channel.

When retail loan originators visit the website, LOs are asked to fill out their names, contact information and comments or questions about wholesale lending.

A third-party call center agent of BLVR will reach out to the loan officer for a follow-up and potentially connect the LO with another broker to explore business options in the wholesale channel.

“They can continue the conversation [with another broker] to the point where they make the decision to stay in retail or move over to the light side of the force,” Phil Mancuso, president and chief investment officer of EPM, said in an interview with HousingWire

“As folks come into the funnel, we just push it through a call center and out to the brokers (…) There are no strings attached. If EPM happens to get one of those loans down the line, great, even better. We believe that we will earn business if the pie is bigger.” Mancuso explained. 

The goal is to bring more than 4,000 loan officers to the wholesale channel over the next 12 months, EPM said. 

The BLVR website gives retail loan officers a glimpse of the opportunities in wholesale origination, Mancuso added. 

With mortgage rates having sharply risen since 2022, loan officers who have already made the jump to wholesale say they have an advantage in being able to shop around for lower rates. 

Not having to bake in overhead costs found in the retail channel is a key advantage, wholesale lenders say.

About 16.8% of first-lien mortgage originations last quarter came from the broker channel, correspondent lending took up 26.8% and retail consisted of 56.5% of total volume, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance (IMF). 

That’s a jump in the broker (13.9%) and correspondent (24.1%) channels while a drop in retail origination(62%) in Q2 2022. 

“The broker portion of the industry is less than it was pre-financial crisis. Yet, brokers have never been more competitive. The offering had never been more compelling. We’re pretty adamant, as others are about the future of this segment of our business (wholesale lending),” Mancuso said.