A Top-Tier Team

Longtime pros launch new company, see early success

Erica Drzewiecki
A Top-Tier Team

Historical Ties

Arsta and his business partner, PowerTPO Senior Managing Director Michael George, extracted character leads from their professional ledgers to concrete an enterprise during an unparalleled time.

Company officers each have decades of experience in the mortgage industry, working for many of the top companies. often during the same eras.

Arsta’s career included brokering at Interfirst Wholesale Lending before moving to Franklin American Mortgage, recently purchased by Citizens Bank. He served as senior vice president of wholesale production there for the next 19 years.

“During that time we built sales platforms, technology, relationships, and I loved every part of it,” Arsta recalls. “We became a leader in the business, especially during the financial crisis - when many companies went out of business - we stayed because we didn’t really engage in any of the subprime lending or the alternative lending products. Very quickly we became a small regional player to a national leader in the TPO space. That really was our opportunity to grow and shine, which we did. We built a strong name and brand in the industry that still exists today.”

He met George when they were both working for Franklin. “We helped build that into a national Top 10 wholesale lender,” George recalls. “After I left, I partnered up with Brett at Guaranty Home Loans.”

Guaranty Home Mortgage Corp. (GHMC) also grew to become an industry powerhouse.

The pair went on to harness their deep-rooted relationships with a wide swath of mortgage professionals when they set out to build PowerTPO with the backing of Lower LLC.

Michael George, PowerTPO,      

Senior Managing Director

“It took us a little while during the post-COVID pricing wars when rates started going through the roof and companies were shutting down and people were laying off,” Arsta says. “Generally in the midst of tragic situations like that, there’s always an opportunity. So we banded together and brought several great leaders that were either pushed out or looking for a new opportunity to grow in that type of a market.”

“Brett and I worked together to build this from scratch from the very beginning,” George adds. “What separates us is our people, our processes and our partners. We hand-picked individuals who are hands-on to build a top-tier team, and that’s how we’ve grown very quickly.”


The Launch

PowerTPO had a soft launch in mid-2022 before the full launch in October 2022, when the company opened its doors nationally.  “With that we’ve added many accounts, and we’ve really grown our mouse trap to be centered around customers and service,” Arsta explains. “I’d say the last 120, 150 days have been exceptional from a volume perspective, and we’re continuing to see that same trend. With that comes challenges of growth and challenges of fulfillment. We try to bring additional staffing on as we see the need from a volume perspective.”

Since launching in Q3 ’22, PowerTPO has averaged 95% quarter-over-quarter growth in submissions and 102% growth in fundings, according to company reports. Approved TPO partners have grown by 50% each quarter.

“We’ve focused on keeping our price very competitive,” George says. “Our goal here with PowerTPO is to be a national player with a long-term cost structure that can be successful in any market.”


Brett Arsta, PowerTPO

Executive Managing Director

Challenges To Come

Now it’s full steam ahead for these lender-leaders, as they continue the build-out of PowerTPO and adjust to the elements of an ever-changing arena.

“There’s always moving challenges in the many different areas of mortgage lending, from warehouse lending and agency requirements, to technology, capital markets, and fulfillment operations,” Arsta says.

“We don’t have the greatest technology that’s out there that many companies have had many years to perfect, but we’re on our way. Competition that’s spent many, many years and millions of dollars getting to where they are provided a very good roadmap for us to get where we are quicker. We’re by no means finished with our technology build or solutions, but we have a very good offering to provide to be a low-cost producer.”

While Lower LLC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, PowerTPO operates remotely. This work model, while common for startups, requires employees to remain diligent. “That’s really the challenge, to find people who can set the boundaries and have a private workspace wherever they’re located,” Arsta says. “To ensure that their decision-making is solid, and that they can continue to be efficient in fulfilling loans.”

The sales team has grown by 66% since the beginning of this year. By summer of ‘23 PowerTPO was about 100 team members strong.

“We’re growing daily with a great group of sales professionals as we find the right fit in this environment,” Arsta says. “With the help of all the people who have joined Power TPO, that’s what really makes the difference. It’s the power of all the people that we add that have the same vision and mission in mind every day.”



Wholesale broker Compass Mortgage writes loans through PowerTPO. “They’re an amazing partner for us,” Broker/President Jamie Brown told Mortgage Banker Magazine. “They are super efficient, very responsive and in touch with all of the latest technological advances available to us.”

This dedication to service stems from their philosophy to approach every loan like it’s the last.

“Level of service is not just an assembly line production unit, but it’s treating each loan with care,” Arsta says. “From a broker perspective, we’re very broker friendly. We’re not out to steal their customers. We’re here to help them gain customers. That’s our goal every day.”

Covita Lending has been brokering its deals to PowerTPO since the start of 2023.

“Overall, they’ve done a very good job for us on all fronts,” owner and co-founder Steve Beskid says. “They’ve been very strong on the pricing side of things, which has been very helpful.”

Responsiveness is also key to ensuring a strong partnership in this business.

“If we have issues on a file we’ve always got someone we can reach out to,” Beskid points out. “They’ve been able to meet tight timeframes with us and help when we have issues with a third party or an appraisal. They’ve done a very good job as somebody new to the broker space, and I would imagine as time progresses they’re just going to get more efficient.”

In a time when the mortgage industry was scarred by layoffs and companies shuttering, this is worthy of applause.

Arsta’s advice to other entrepreneurial hopefuls vying for success in this business?

“You have to find your need and your niche,” he says. “And our niche is customers that are still looking for a very personal experience along with knowledge and expertise in the field. My approach is relationships and people matter. And our job is to fulfill what’s provided to us and create a good experience for everyone.”

Erica Drzewiecki
This article was originally published in the Mortgage Banker Magazine September 2023 issue.
Published on
Sep 07, 2023
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