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Keratsis Talks Early Career, Non-QM, Tech And More

Navi Persaud
Mar 18, 2021
Photo of John Keratsis and quote from March 17 MLO.

On Wednesday, March 17, the Mortgage Leadership Outlook featured John Keratsis, president and CEO of Deephaven Mortgage. He joined host Andrew Berman, head of engagement and outreach for National Mortgage Professional Magazine, as they explored Keratsis' history as the founder of Boston National Title (acquired by Incenter, a Blackstone portfolio company), what excited him about the opportunity in Non-QM, the outlook for Non-QM, and more.

Keratsis joined Deephaven Mortgage in February to lead the next phase of Deephaven's strategic growth. Prior to Deephaven, Keratsis was the senior managing director at Incenter where he oversaw several mortgage services and specialty lending business including, among others, Boston National Title, a nationwide title and settlement services platform; Agents National Title Insurance Company, a title insurance underwriter; and a large-scale offshore mortgage fulfillment operation. Prior to Incenter, Keratsis spent nearly 12 years as founder and CEO of Boston National Holdings, which Incenter acquired in November 2016.

Highlights From The Interview:

  • Post-college, while initially buying and selling homes, Keratsis became interested in title insurance. He learned more about the industry, met a network of people, developed a team, moved them to Florida, and opened Boston National Title Insurance Company. 
  • Keratsis pivoted his business in 2008 to a private wealth model. By 2012 the company had built a good niche model, but banks and lenders wanted the company to pivot again. They moved into consumer direct, distributed retail and other models and by 2015 Boston National was a top 20-sized title agent in the country. They began to look for an underwriter to try to create new products and get innovative on the front end. By then, Keratsis and his investor Joe Kerry decided to sell the business.
  • “When you consider where we’re going now if you were to compare GSEs and that business to a New York Stock Exchange and you were to think about nonagency and relate that to NASDAQ, it’s a very different model in the same market space,” said Keratsis when comparing nonagency and agency-focused business models. 
  • “In kind of a NASDAQ fashion, I think we can create a different marketplace that is differentiated, tech-inspired and focused on trying to get to exactly the end that we want, which is what exactly does the consumer want and what do the investors want.”
  • “We’re getting very focused from a technology standpoint. There’s a lot that I’ve had exposure to over the last 5-6 years that is the gilded edge of technology that fits almost like cartridges in this chronology of loan fulfillment, where your loan starts with an application through a POS and ultimately ends with the connectivity to the investor on the backend. But throughout that, there are a lot of toll gates or cartridges where you can deploy technology in a fascinating way, to make sure that you not just get lifts but you create a better environment, better reporting, better KPIs etc.”

Check out the full interview between Keratsis and Berman below.

Click here to see the previous episode featuring Julian Hebron.

Previous guests include Robert BroeksmitJosh FriendJoe DahleenTim NguyenKristy FerchoTony ThompsonMat IshbiaDavid LunaBarry HabibRob Chrisman and more.

See all the interviews from the Mortgage Leadership Outlook series on its YouTube channel.

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