In the face of what it claims is a liquidity crunch, a once fast-growing mortgage company based in the Southside is abruptly winding down its operations and laying off more than 100 employees.
Live Well Financial, founded in 2005 by local entrepreneur and former Capital One executive Michael Hild, began May 3 shutting down its operations “in their entirety,” including its office at 1011 Boulder Springs Drive in the Boulders office park.
That’s according to a notice the company issued to the Virginia Employment Commission dated May 3 – the same day it notified its employees, of which it had 103 in the Boulders office.
The company, which originates, wholesales and services reverse mortgages and other loans, said in its letter to the state that the closure is driven by a loss of financing needed to fund its operations.
“The company requires significant liquidity to operate its business of originating, securitizing and servicing forward and reverse mortgage loans,” it stated in its letter. “Due to sudden and unexpected developments in the markets for certain financial assets the company uses as collateral or certain credit facilities that provide this liquidity, these lenders have reduced significantly the amount of liquidity they make available to the company.”
It also cited conditions in the mortgage lending market and regulatory issues as posing a challenge.
It claims it wasn’t able to give employees greater notice of the closure because it had been in talks to receive new sources of funding and such notice could have jeopardized those discussions.
The letter stated the last day for most of Live Well’s employees was May 3 and some will be let go within 14 days thereafter.
Hild launched Live Well on April Fool’s Day 2005, and led the company to be listed among the region’s fastest-growing businesses as recently as 2014. It was created to focus on loans that contain a government guarantee against credit risk, including FHA and VA loans.
Live Well eventually raised private equity capital to expand its revenue sources by acquiring a large portfolio of mortgage-backed securities, and a trading desk to manage and grow that portfolio.
The company had upwards of 300 employees at one point, including at an office in San Diego.
Hild did not return multiple calls. An email on Monday and calls to Live Well also went unanswered.
Hild has had his hand in other local ventures in recent years, including Anderson’s Neck Oyster Co. and an amassing by he and his wife Laura Dyer Hild of dozens of properties on the city’s Southside, mainly in and around Manchester, Blackwell and Swansboro.