SouthStar Funding, an Atlanta-based non-conforming wholesale lender, achieved record origination volume in fiscal year 2005, which ended Nov. 31. The lender's volume grew by more than 40 percent year over year to $6 billion in mortgage loans originated in fiscal year 2005.
"SouthStar Funding was founded with a focus on providing superior service and competitive products, and 2005 has really shown the value of that philosophy," said Brian Smith, executive vice president of SouthStar Funding. "In a year when the industry as a whole saw origination volume decrease, interest rates rise and margins shrink, the SouthStar Funding team stepped up and operated more efficiently and expanded our offerings to the nationwide broker community. Thanks to the hard work of our employees across the country, we are primed to grow our market share even further in 2006."
SouthStar Funding executives point to the lender's two newest mortgage products as catalysts for its growth. Simple Score, released in April, simplifies the qualifying of borrowers by basing credit decisions almost entirely on the borrower's middle FICO score. Simple Score's aggressive pricing and high loan-to-value (LTV) allowances enable brokers to replace complicated matrices with one product. As a result of its simple qualifying and aggressive pricing, borrowers with higher than average FICO scores have embraced this mortgage product and made it SouthStar Funding's most popular offering.
The Choice Option ARM, released in March, provides flexible payment options for borrowers who want the lowest monthly payments and the ability to manage their cash flow. With features unique to the market, including the ability to borrow up to 100 percent combined LTV and to combine this product with a home equity mortgage as part of a combination loan, the Choice Option ARM has been SouthStar Funding's second most popular product, this year.
"Today's borrowers expect lenders and brokers to offer creative solutions to their financial challenges, regardless of credit history, documentation status or down payment," said Mike Fierman, executive vice president of SouthStar Funding. "At SouthStar Funding, we focus on developing mortgage products that enable our nationwide broker network to meet the needs of every borrower, and Simple Score and Choice Option ARM are our two most recent success stories. We will continue to focus on developing new and creative solutions to meet the needs of today's borrower."
In addition to achieving record origination volume in 2005, SouthStar Funding also created its correspondent lending group. A combination of its correspondent partnership division and loan acquisition group, the new group offers flexible options to correspondents and caters to the special needs of community and regional banks, credit unions, mid-size mortgage lenders and homebuilders. The lender also launched its partnership division in 2005, creating a group specifically focused on providing exceptional products, service and pricing to large corporate accounts. Additionally, SouthStar University was launched, creating an internal training program and facility aimed at introducing new employees to the lender's service-focused culture and providing continuous improvement for all its employees, nationwide.
SouthStar Funding also received recognition from two major publications in 2005. The lender ranked second in the Atlanta Business Chronicle's yearly A+ Employer Awards, which ranks the top employers in Atlanta. The ranking marked the third consecutive year on the list, having won it in 2004 and placing fourteenth in 2003. Additionally, Inc. magazine named SouthStar Funding to its Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. The company placed 429th on the list. Of the Inc. 500 companies, SouthStar Funding ranked 39th in total revenue and only 33 companies experienced faster growth and had higher revenues than the lender.
For more information, visit www.southstar.com.