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Thirteen years ago, Corona, Calif.-based Paramount Residential Mortgage Group Inc. (PRMG) first opened its doors for business. Or, to be more precise, it opened a single door to a small office where a three-person staff worked long and hard to build the business it has grown to become. Today, the company operates in 46 states and employs more than 700 nationwide. Needless to say, the company appears to be doing something right!
For this month’s National Mortgage Professional Magazine’s Legends of Lending profile, the PRMG leadership team offered their insight on the state of the industry and the strategies that keep PRMG at the forefront of the mortgage world. The company’s Chief Executive Officer and President Paul Rozo, and Chief Operating Officer Robert Holliday, were joined in this interview by Chief Production Officer Phil Deol, and National Marketing Director Paul Lucido.
What makes PRMG different from its competitors?
Paul Rozo: We like to say that we are “built by originators for originators.” PRMG was born from a vision of creating a company with a unique culture focused on the success of the producer. As originators ourselves and being in the trenches early on, we clearly understood the requirements, and more importantly, what truly needed to be accomplished in order to achieve that success.
PRMG grew since being established in 2001, from just three people in a single office to well more than 700 in over 40 offices across the U.S. What kind of people do you look for to become part of the PRMG team?
Robert Holliday: It all starts by hiring great people and some of the best talent in the industry. We have an exceptional operations staff that knows how to meet and support the daily demands of our sales teams. We also provide continued training at the PRMG Campus by instituting a program that effectively allows the branches and their sales teams to maintain a consistent level of service to all our customers across the country … ultimately delivering what we call the “PRMG experience.”
What does this company look for in potential employees?
Phil Deol: We like to hire winners in this organization. We look for people with a fire in their belly—those who are driven and have their own thermostats set on high. We like to help foster those qualities and make them even greater.
The mortgage industry has been blanketed with a surplus of new federal and state regulations over the past few years, with more regulations on the horizon for 2015. How has this new regulatory regimen impacted PRMG’s day-to-day operations?
Robert Holliday: Without question, many of the new federal and state regulations have had a significant impact on how lenders remain compliant. For example, PRMG has seen an increase in the costs associated with obtaining legal counsel and internal support in helping us, not only understand the new regulations, but in determining how we properly disclose and how the laws associated with these regulatory changes and restrictions will affect our operations. This includes implementing policy and training procedures in order to align ourselves and remain compliant with new regulatory laws and restrictions.
What is your opinion of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new mini-correspondent policy guidance, and how will this impact the industry?
Paul Rozo: Since early 2013, PRMG has been proactive in developing a correspondent program well in anticipation of the recent regulatory changes that took effect in January 2014. This program was developed along with policy and procedures that are in alignment with the current CFPB guidelines in helping mortgage brokers interested in transitioning to becoming a banker.
The vision for the correspondent platform has always been to assist brokers with the transitioning from broker to banker—including providing guidance for them to begin closing their own loans and establishing criteria for “delegated underwriting.” That being said, PRMG has established rigorous requirements for correspondent approval. Many of our correspondent customers have already gone the mini-correspondent route. Therefore, because we are ahead of the curve the impact for us is minimal.
What is your forecast for the industry once interest rates finally begin to rise?
Phil Deol: As a result of rising interest rates, we should typically see an immediate surge in purchase business … which is a good thing. However, with rising interest rates, housing affordability, over time, will certainly become an issue, perhaps limiting some borrower’s ability to buy or buy up; most likely causing home prices to eventually stabilize and return to a normal market.
There has been data from around the country suggesting that affordable housing is becoming more elusive to locate. In your opinion, what can be done to ensure greater affordability in the housing market across the country?
Phil Deol: We would recommend a strategy that would continue to widen the USDA footprint, while offering additional DPA downpayment assistance programs in conjunction with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to potential first-time homebuyers. Also, we need to consider the possibility of reducing FHA Monthly Mortgage Insurance, which would greatly increase the buying power for qualified borrowers.
PRMG's Chief Executive Officer and President Paul Rozo; Chief Operating Officer Robert Holliday; Chief Production Officer Phil Deol; and National Marketing Director Paul Lucido
What are some of PRMG's current marketing strategies?
Paul Lucido: Our plan is to continue with an aggressive national advertising campaign geared toward speaking to PRMG’s recent growth and expansion. This includes, print media, e-mail marketing, and leveraging our social media channels for recruiting purposes, special events, product announcements and rankings. In addition, we are completely revamping PRMG’s entire online presence, which will play a significant part in helping to serve our customers. All of these initiatives will contribute toward expanding our national footprint in unique and expressive way—conveying strength, size and stability. Again, PRMG continues to set itself apart by being “different,” and we are okay with that.
How does PRMG approach social media?
Paul Lucido: Over the last three years, PRMG has learned to embrace social media as a viable business channel. We currently maintain a solid online presence for all our branches on the Web through various search engines and local directories. Activities include regular postings of product updates, customer surveys, company rankings and videos for recruiting efforts–all of which generate an influx of comments and positive feedback posted by our customers.
What are the best marketing channels for your company?
Paul Lucido: From a B2B perspective, we have found e-mail marketing to be one of the best delivery platforms, particularly with our brokers. Depending upon which customer relationship management (CRM) system you use; e-mail is hard to beat. The e-mail platform offers many advantages. In our case, it allows us to reach out directly to our broker database and dynamically tie in the PRMG representative associated with that particular broker. This allows us the flexibility to promote a very specific tailored message with relative ease and speed to our customers. This includes product updates, midday announcements and events, and more importantly, regular daily rate sheets, which we find to be perhaps the most effective form of advertising to our customers, which ultimately creates a call-to-action.
If PRMG could be described in a single word, what would that word be?
Paul Rozo: If you were to ask any employee in the company to describe PRMG in a single word, you will find that they will ultimately respond by saying “Family” as the cultural term we have fostered throughout the company.
Phil Hall is senior editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected].
This article originally appeared in the September 2014 edition of National Mortgage Professional Magazine.