Deephaven Mortgage appoints Aaron Drago as new COO

Non-QM lender Deephaven Mortgage, owned by alternate investment firm Pretium, has appointed Aaron Drago as its chief operating officer.

“Aaron combines a depth of operational experience with a focused and disciplined approach to process optimization. This will serve Deephaven well as we scale operations to meet strong demand for our products,” said Deephaven president and CEO John Keratsis in a statement.

Drago’s responsibilities include continuing the optimization and performance of the company’s daily operations, its long-term growth, and ensuring the satisfaction of its customers and correspondent partners.

His aim is to empower brokers and correspondents to serve more non-QM borrowers, he said in a statement.

“In nautical terms, we’re a yacht, rather than a cruise ship, with the flexibility to make changes that cater to customers’ emerging needs,” Drago said. “I’m excited to help us innovate our operations and leverage technologies to build on that advantage…”

Prior to joining Deephaven, Drago was the chief operations officer for the Southeast and Mountain West divisions of Guaranteed Rate.

He has held several leadership positions, including senior vice president and head of home equity fulfillment, and SVP and head of digital and operations analytics at Wells Fargo; head of operations strategy and process governance and head of shared services innovation and excellence analytics and reporting at TD; the SVP, VP and AVP of various verticals at Bank of America; senior business intelligence consultant at Mariner and solutions architect at arcplan, Inc., among others.

Last month, Deephaven tapped business development veteran Tyler Bohn as its managing director of national accounts.

In April 2022, Deephaven appointed Anthony Gulotta to lead its wholesale sales on the East Coast and in June, Paul Howarth as its regional vice president of wholesale sales, to expand the firm’s non-QM footprint in the western half of the country. 

In May, Lisa Heitzmann joined the company as its chief operating officer and later went on to join LGH Consulting LLC as its principal.

In 2020, the lender shuttered its non-QM operation and laid off workers, but made a return in 2021 and issued a $146.2 million security backed by non-QM mortgages.

Keratsis believes the non-QM market “is poised for long-term, sustainable growth,” he said in an interview with HousingWire last November. The company has plans to build its wholesale and correspondent distribution channels, and to add enhancements to its non-QM customer experience, he added.