A 26-year-old national mortgage lending company is establishing its first physical presence in the Richmond market.
New Jersey-based Freedom Mortgage has opened a local branch at 4323 Cox Road in Innsbrook. Managed by Kimberly Garnett, who came over from Wells Fargo, the 2,200-square-foot space is one of several retail offices that Freedom is opening across the country in a push toward providing loans directly to borrowers.
Previously, the company sent deals it secured with borrowers to wholesale mortgage brokerages that would shop loans around to different lenders, including Freedom, which may or may not have purchased the loan.
“We were really big on the wholesale-correspondent side, letting other lenders do our business, and we have decided that we were going to open retail shops here in Virginia,” Garnett said. “So instead of having to buy it from somebody else, we just keep it in-house.”
Garnett said offices are also being opened in other markets where the company does not currently have a presence, referring to similar-size metros in Maryland, Tennessee and Florida.
At the Richmond branch, Garnett leads a staff of four that she is looking to grow over the course of this year. She joined Freedom last November and had been working in temporary space on Sadler Road since then. She said the Innsbrook location received State Corporation Commission approval Monday.
Garnett is shooting for $8 million-$10 million a month in loan volume for the branch’s first year, or a total of as much as $120 million.
Freedom Mortgage isn’t the only out-of-town mortgage firm making its presence known in Richmond. Chicago-based Guaranteed Rate got its first local office off the ground earlier this year.