In June 2012, Guild Mortgage opened its first South Carolina branch in Spartanburg, S.C. with seven employees who issued nine loans totaling $1.1 million during the month. By September 2013, the company’s presence in South Carolina had grown to seven branches with 60 employees. Through the first nine months of 2013, those branches generated 1,153 loans totaling $199,275,982 in loan volume.
The recent expansion in the southeast during the past year has been a major step toward building a nationwide presence for San Diego-based Guild, according to Mary Ann McGarry, president and CEO. To date, Guild has recruited seasoned industry veterans as branch managers and skilled loan officers and Guild opened its eighth office in Charleston on Nov. 15 and also has offices in Spartanburg, Greenville, Georgetown, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Columbia.
The growth in the South Carolina market has come as a result of a strategic plan initiated by the Guild management leadership team to take advantage of what it saw as favorable future market dynamics in the state: the end of the recession, decreasing unemployment rates, pent up housing demand and an improving economy. Guild took a determined approach to growing a presence and recruiting top talent in the South Carolina market. It is a similar strategy that has helped Guild grow from a single office in 1960 in San Diego, Calif. to more than 170 branch and satellite offices in 16 states in 2013.
Guild is now a nationally recognized mortgage banking company with loan volume hitting $6 billion and servicing volume $10 billion in 2012. McGarry feels the company has grown because of its core principles, history of strong customer service by skilled professionals, industry leading technology and a vision that emphasizes expertise and a focus on purchase business rather than riding the ever-changing refinance cycles.
“Customers enjoy dealing with a company that is dedicated to individual, personalized customer service and has the resources of a large, well-established organization,” said McGarry. “Guild has also been able to attract talented professionals in the South Carolina market who fit the Guild culture of building relationships, which adds to our competitive edge.”
In Columbia, S.C., mortgage industry veteran Matt MacGillivray joined Guild as branch manager and brought his award-winning team of five sales managers from Bank of America. The team has a combined experience of more than 90 years in the mortgage business and is well respected in the market. MacGillivray said he and his team had multiple offers to join other companies and went with Guild because of its culture, organization, depth of experience in the purchase loan market and entrepreneurial spirit.
“From the first conversations we had with their national managers, we felt they were knowledgeable, straightforward and demonstrated that they wanted not only to grow but to find the right team. Guild has shown a history of investing in their people, rather than simply buying up businesses, which impressed us,” MacGillivray said.
Guild offers a traditional range of residential mortgage products. Guild funds most of its loans, which provides consistency and also speeds approvals. It has been a pioneer in helping first-time homebuyers achieve their dreams of home ownership, often through government loan programs that require expertise.
“We think investing extra time to help the first-time homebuyer is well worth it,” said McGarry. “The quest for home ownership continues to be the American dream. The first-time homebuyer is entering a complex, often time-consuming and confusing process, so deserves extra focus and attention.”
Many customers in South Carolina are first time homebuyers. Government tax breaks, down payment assistance and state foreclosure prevention programs backed by the federal government have made purchase realistic in the state. In February 2013, South Carolina had one of the best buyer’s markets in the nation, with home prices dropping 5 percent from the year before, according to the South Carolina Realtors Association. In September 2013, housing sales were up 17 percent over the previous year and demand is expected for 8,800 new homes to be built in the next three years.
“We are optimistic about the rest of 2013 and 2014 based on recent economic and housing trends,” said McGarry. “This includes indications of a steady increase in the number of first-time homebuyers, which can contribute to the nation’s overall economic recovery and growth in South Carolina.”