Guild snags a top team from Fairway

Distributed retail lender Guild Mortgage has picked up a top-producing team of loan officers, branch managers and back-office staff in California from rival retail shop Fairway Independent Mortgage.

Guild, publicly traded and based in San Diego, added 40 employees across eight branch offices in California, the company said Thursday.

John Lowe leads the new California district, and he’s brought his whole team from Fairway, including area managers Chris Owen and Joanne Hender; branch managers Doug Grenz, Don Petty, Gwen Chyz, Jeremy Kurtz, Marco Guerra and Steve Weninger; sales manager Debra Morsan; six transaction coordinators and four processors.

Also joining are 20 loan officers: Alejandra Torres, Alex Alvarez, Alex Innocentes, Caleb Kurtz, Cameron Elkins, Carolyn Gregory, Cecilia Duran, Cole Wilson, Crystal Turben, Jennifer Guerra, Jeremy Massari, Joanna Busalacchi, Kandice Castro, Kelly Cort, Lisa Jones, Mari Sanchez, Meghan Dinublio, Monica Cuevas, Tommy Allums, and Vincent Piegaro.

In all, the team produced $350 million in loan origination volume last year, making the coup more like a mini-acquisition, Guild said in a statement.

“Guild’s reputation and history of stability were a major draw for our group, giving us the confidence to make the move, become part of one of the best organizations in the industry and continue to build on the success we’ve achieved together,” Lowe said in a statement.

Guild has been investing heavily in growth over the last year, acquiring small and mid-sized lenders across multiple geographic markets in the United States. Guild, one of the few women-helmed mortgage companies in the top echelon of lenders, has acquired Wisconsin-based Inlanta Mortgage, New Mexico-headquartered Legacy Mortgage and Colorado-based Cherry Creek Mortgage in the last nine months.

Guild’s longtime CEO Mary Ann McGarry recently announced her retirement, with company president Terry Schmidt slated to take over in the summer.

The purchase-focused lender has about 4,000 employees across 49 states and a sizable footprint in its home state of California. In 2022, it did about $1.9 billion in business there and maintains branches in Auburn, Corvallis, Folsom, Gardnerville, Riverside, Santa Rosa, Vacaville and Yuba City.

Guild posted a net income of $328 million in 2022 despite posting a loss of $15 million in the fourth quarter of the year. Net income rose 16% from the previous year’s $283.8 million. The company is expected to release its first quarter 2023 earnings in May.