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• Prime lender to expand access to capital for homeowners and small businesses, including those with non-traditional credit needs unable to borrow directly from banks.
• Announces leadership team led by former Banc of California executives Steven Sugarman (Founder, Chairman, CEO), Jeffrey Seabold (co-Founder, Vice-Chairman, Chief Banking Officer), Paul Simmons (Chief Credit Officer), Thedora Nickel (Chief Administrative Officer), Janet Hargreaves (Management Information Systems), and Raquel Gillett (Financial Controls).
• Announces community advisory board led by Faith Bautista (CEO, National Diversity Coalition (“NDC”) and National Asian American Coalition (“NAAC”)), Jin Sung (Chair, NDC), Jeff Lim (Co-Chair, NAAC), Pastor Mark Whitlock (COR AME Church), and Gil Vasquez (Chair, Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce).
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Founders Steven Sugarman and Faith Bautista announced today the launch of The Capital Corps, LLC (“The Capital Corps”), a California based financial institution focused on providing access to capital to diverse homeowners and small businesses, including those with non-traditional prime credit needs currently unserved by banks and traditional financial institutions. Mr. Sugarman and Ms. Bautista will be joined by co-Founder Jeffrey Seabold and an experienced team of bankers and lenders to serve this marketplace. Additionally, The Capital Corps made the following announcements today:
“The launch of The Capital Corps is the realization of a commitment I was proud to announce alongside President Clinton, Mayor Villaraigosa, and the California Reinvestment Coalition in 2015. We pledged to collaborate with community leaders to create a lending platform focused on providing access to capital to credit-worthy borrowers who need it most. Our goal was to reshape lending under the Community Reinvestment Act to be more impactful to underserved communities with better risk adjusted returns for banks. It gives me great pride today to make good on that commitment.” Said Mr. Sugarman.
Mr. Seabold stated, “The Capital Corps will focus on ensuring its lending platform is scalable, financially strong and the leader in non-traditional prime lending. We seek to meaningfully expand access to capital to the over $100 billion of diverse borrowers that are currently unserved by banks.”
To ensure The Capital Corps has robust financial strength and stability, we will seek certification as a community development financial institution by the U.S. Department of Treasury and membership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.
Mr. Sugarman continued, “Employees, borrowers, and the diverse communities we serve must know that their lenders will be there to finance their homes and businesses during all seasons and all cycles, and will not cut and run over short term pressures. The Capital Corps team has demonstrated their commitment to the communities we serve over the long haul. We have set up our governance and structure to maximize our ability to serve all borrowers safely and soundly for decades to come. We couldn’t be more excited to be recruiting partners – capital, community, employee, and strategic – who are authentic, passionate, and mission-driven.”
Founder Faith Bautista, Chief Executive Officer of the National Diversity Coalition, remarked: “I have worked for years to find ways to encourage hundreds of banks to expand their community development efforts to low income and minority communities that are left out of the system. Steven Sugarman was the rare bank CEO who found innovative ways to help our members while ensuring his bank was protected and profitable. That is why he was the first banker who earned the National Diversity Coalition’s highest honor: The Giraffe Award. The award is given to the person willing to stick their neck out for the benefit of doing the right thing for the community. He has the integrity, community commitment, and financial experience that we need. We are grateful to partner with Steven and his team for the benefit of the diverse borrowers who are currently left underserved by traditional banks.”
Jeff Lim, CEO of Island Pacific Supermarkets and Co-Chair of NAAC, stated “Mr. Sugarman and Mr. Seabold helped me grow Island Pacific into the second largest Filipino supermarket in the country through their lending, advise and support. I am thrilled to partner with them to expand access to capital to the next generation of minority owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and to attract capital and build operations in a sound, scalable way.”
In order to ensure that The Capital Corps appropriately meets the evolving needs of the diverse borrowers and communities it serves, it has launched a Community Advisory Board that will provide oversight and advice relating to portfolio lending programs, servicing strategies, and client acquisition and outreach.
The Capital Corps will serve non-traditional prime borrowers by returning to more traditional methods of underwriting residential real estate focusing on the 5-C’s of credit – including a borrower’s character. In its credit decisions, The Capital Corps will place special emphasis on the borrower’s character as opposed to narrow service-bureau-driven credit analytics deployed by banks during the recent credit crisis. The Capital Corps will partner with banks who wish to promote community development goals through lending to underserved communities including low income individuals and communities, borrowers with limited access to capital including African-Americans, Hispanics, underserved Asian populations, women-only borrowers, and borrowers with limited relevant credit histories.
About The Capital Corps, LLC
The Capital Corps, LLC empowers diverse small businesses, entrepreneurs and homeowners to pursue their dreams by expanding access to prime capital for non-traditional borrowers. The Capital Corps focuses on lending secured by residential real estate and provides credit counseling services to its borrowers. The Capital Corps has partnerships with the National Diversity Coalition and the National Asian American Coalition and community leaders to actively participate in the lending process through their Community Advisory Board to ensure its lending programs appropriately reflect the needs of the communities it serves. The Capital Corps’ team is led by its Founders Steven Sugarman and Faith Bautista and co-Founder Jeffrey Seabold. For more information: http://www.thecapitalcorps.com
About The National Diversity Coalition
The National Diversity Coalition is an official 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization which is comprised of community organizers, faith-based leaders, nonprofit directors, and business owners working collectively for greater financial equality and empowerment for underserved groups. Together we work with corporate and government leaders to advocate for greater opportunities in homeownership, small business, and financial literacy for all people. For more information: http://www.nationaldiversitycoalition.org
– The Capital Corps closes strategic investment into Commerce Home Mortgage to further joint mission of expanding access to capital for diverse homeowners.
– The Capital Corps’ Founder Steven Sugarman and co-Founder Jeffrey Seabold join Board of Commerce Home Mortgage. Commerce Home Mortgage CEO Mario De Tomasi joins executive team of The Capital Corps.
NOVEMBER 7, 2017 (IRVINE, CA) Commerce Home Mortgage (“CHM”) announced today that it has closed a strategic investment from The Capital Corps, LLC (“The Capital Corps”) a California based financial institution led by former Banc of California Founder Steven Sugarman and National Diversity Coalition Chief Executive Officer Faith Bautista. As part of the transaction, the Capital Corps’ Founder Steven Sugarman and co-founder Jeffrey Seabold have joined the Board of CHM. Mario De Tomasi, Chief Executive Officer of CHM, stated “CHM has made significant investments in its infrastructure to enable it to scale its retail business over the next several years. Today is the perfect time to partner with Steve, Jeff, and their colleagues. This deal will enable CHM to grow its business more quickly and prudently and to better serve its borrowers. We are also thrilled to work with Faith Bautista and the National Diversity Coalition to ensure we finance the dreams of all of America’s diverse populations.” CHM, which was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in California, is licensed to lend in 26 states through its 25 retail offices and its wholesale channel. CHM CEO Mario De Tomasi will continue in his current role as well as assume an executive role at Capital Corps as part of the transaction. Mr. De Tomasi and CHM Founder Scott Simonich have also become strategic investors in The Capital Corps. “We are thrilled to work with the team at Commerce Home Mortgage. Their values, commitment and platform are enabling the CHM to be a compelling lender that works for its employees, borrowers and partners,” said Sugarman, “I look forward to helping expand the platform to include proprietary products and to help CHM better serve the needs of their borrowers.” Jeffrey Seabold continued “I have been impressed with Commerce Home Mortgage for quite some time and am excited to join their Board. I look forward to helping CHM ensure it is recognized as the home for the best brokers, originators, and partners in the industry.” The Capital Corps’ will offer proprietary lending products through Commerce Home Mortgage that focus on expanding homeownership for non-traditional prime borrowers currently unserved by banks and traditional lenders. These programs are expected to launch during the first quarter
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Faith Bautista, President of the National Diversity Coalition (“NDC”) and National Asian American Coalition (“NAAC”), announced today a partnership with private investors and banking professionals, led by Steven Sugarman, to launch a lending platform to finance underserved homeowners and small businesses. This venture will seek to finance prime borrowers that are currently unserved by banks and other traditional financial institutions. It is estimated that this diverse population of borrowers currently accounts for over $100 billion in annual credit-worthy lending opportunities that is unable to access traditional sources of capital.
“It has been my dream to help enable these underserved and minority homeowners get the credit they deserve at rates they can afford. This will be the gold standard of community development. I am thrilled to have partnered with Steven Sugarman and his experienced team of executives,” said Faith Bautista.
Ms. Bautista, who recently received a Presidential appointment to serve on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Advisory Board, will Chair the venture’s Community Advisory Board (the “CAB”) to represent the interests of underserved and minority borrowers and to ensure they receive equitable access to capital and credit counseling services. Vice-Chairs of the CAB will include Pastor Mark Whitlock, Gil Vasquez, NDC Chair Jin Sung, and NAAC Co-Chair Jeff Lim.
“For community development to be successful, it must be collaborative, profitable, and prudent,” Ms. Bautista continued.
Founding investors – led by Jeffrey Seabold, Mario De Tomasi, Scott Simonich, Marshall Geller and Lawrence Taylor – have committed to provide $20 million in equity to the venture, which will seek federal certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”) and membership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. This represents the largest ever equity capital raise to launch a new, non-bank CDFI since the founding of the program in 1994.
“These socially responsible investors are to be commended for their commitment to providing prudent financing to underserved, but credit-worthy borrowers. This lending partnership is innovative, important, and just beginning. As the state legislature recently stated, California has a shortage of two million affordable homes. The efforts of NDC and NAAC alongside their partners are poised to creatively reduce this lack of affordable homeownership,” said Bob Gnaizda, General Counsel of the NDC and NAAC.
“I am proud to be joined by a strong, passionate, and growing team of banking and lending professionals with the experience and track record to lead this venture and maximize its impact over time,” said Sugarman. “We are excited to continue working to empower the dreams of California’s diverse homeowners and small businesses by providing much needed access to prime capital to nontraditional borrowers. This is a huge, attractive market that has been overlooked and ignored for nearly a decade; it will no longer be.”
The venture will focus on meeting the credit needs of the unbanked and underbanked such as low income, minority -- including African-Americans, Hispanics, and Southeast Asians -- and women.
Following the 2009 recession, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act to reform the financial system including to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”). In 2013, the CFPB implemented Regulation Z, Truth in Lending, which sought to prevent predatory lending and to ensure lenders had a reasonable expectation of repayment by each borrower at the time a mortgage loan was made.
The rate of homeownership has seen a material decline from its peak in 2008, as lenders have tightened lending underwriting standards to conform to Regulation Z, making more sound credit decisions and eliminating potentially predatory lending practices. While much of this decline in homeownership was an appropriate result of more prudent lending, the CFPB recognized that Regulation Z had the risk of reducing financing for credit-worthy borrowers in need of non-traditional underwriting methods. To do so they provided certain exemptions to organizations including CDFIs to enable thoughtful approaches to providing access to capital to these credit-worthy, underbanked borrowers. In fact, the rate of homeownership now stands several percent below its long-term average homeownership rates during the decade preceding the recent real estate bubble and great recession. This reflects a potential reduction in lending to homeowners of approximately $100 billion annually below the long-term averages.
According to The Urban Institute, the tightening of the mainstream mortgage market since the recession prevented 5.2 million mortgages between 2009 and 2014. As the market looks to responsibly expand access to credit, special considerations should be provided for groups that are underbanked to help bridge them into the standard banking system.
Community Development Financial Institutions have attempted to close the gap in lending to these underserved communities, but have not historically had the financial resources to meet the size of the challenge. For instance, California based non-bank CDFI’s made less than $2 billion in total home loans in 2016, most of which were loans made to be sold to third parties pursuant to U.S. Government and Agency programs (e.g., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA). This has left unaddressed the needs of a significant population of borrowers who do not fit within the narrow confines of these programs. The NDC and NAAC believes that many of these borrowers are prime credits requiring loans with low loan-to-values (the loan-to-value measures the amount of the loan in comparison to the value of the house being financed). As co-Founder Seabold noted: “There exists significant unmet demand in California and nationally from underbanked, minority and women borrowers for low LTV, prime mortgage loans. This need can be met in a sound and prudent manner.”
The NDC and NAAC will continue to seek partnerships with social impact investors, banks, and other corporations to help address this critical need and to better serve the over 25% of the population that the FDIC has deemed unbanked or underbanked.
“Commerce Home Mortgage has built a sales machine and culture that is second to none,” said Faramarz. “By working closely with our great staff to maximize efficiency and productivity, we have created an environment where everyone can really thrive. I truly look forward to sharing this with best and brightest in the business.”
Scott Simonich, Founder and CEO of Commerce Home Mortgage, added “We are confident Faramarz will make an immediate and substantive impact for all our originators. His unique understanding of technology and mortgages along with his ability to communicate effectively makes him the perfect selection for this vital role. We look forward to seeing Faramarz build on the solid foundation already in place to help all of our loan officers be as successful as possible.”
“Commerce Home Mortgage’s new branch locations will allow us to strengthen our coverage and leadership across the West Coast and now in Florida and in the Southeast,” said Mario De Tomasi, Chief Financial Officer for Commerce Home Mortgage. “Our goal is to continue to grow in our existing territories and expand into other states while maintaining the high quality of service and attention to our clients that we are known for. We are excited about the growth we are experiencing and the expansion represents a commitment to continue to build on the success of our team.”
In addition to the six new branch locations opened in 2014, Commerce Home Mortgage is planning to open a new location in Berkeley, CA the first quarter of 2015.
Benefits of the partnership include the ability to better understand their respective clients’ total financial picture and insurance needs and to deliver customized “best fit” insurance products and services to clients at competitive prices. Balboa Pacific is a trusted insurance consultant that provides “A-rated” insurance products through some of the largest and most respected US insurance carriers. They guide their clients to secure the best possible coverage for all areas of their life and manage their full portfolio of insurance products efficiently through one company. As a result of the partnership, Commerce Home Mortgage will begin offering Balboa Pacific’s services early in the loan origination process, making it easy and convenient for their clients to obtain the best and most cost-effective homeowner insurance coverage to match their needs.
“It makes a lot of sense to be able to offer this personalized service to Commerce Home Mortgages’ customers,” said Mario De Tomasi, Chief Financial Officer of Commerce Home Mortgage. “Our goal is make the entire lending process, and all of the needs that accompany it, as easy and convenient as possible,” De Tomasi said.
Balboa Pacific was founded in 2013 by insurance and mortgage industry veteran Joe Stanovich in Irvine, California and provides a wide array of insurance services, such as Auto, Home, Commercial, Life, Health, Flood, Condominium and Renters insurance. After many years working in both the insurance and mortgage industries, Mr. Stanovich saw the opportunity to provide value to clients by providing a high quality one-stop shop with excellent customer service for all insurance needs at the same price point as “A rated” carriers.
“I am excited to deliver a variety of the same great insurance products and rates from many of the large insurance carriers all in one place, with the seasoned expertise, extra care and customer service strategy of your local agent, always available when you need them,” Stanovich said.
Commerce Home Mortgage is headquartered in San Ramon, California and serves customers from a wide range of locations throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Florida. Since 1994, the company has funded more than $10 billion of loans, delivering highly competitive financing with the utmost attention to personal service. With a strong, stable reputation in the real estate finance industry, Commerce Home Mortgage serves the lending needs of individual homebuyers, real estate professionals and builders throughout the Western United States. Its in-house underwriting and in-house documents and funding, allows loans to be approved within hours and funded within days.
For more information, please visit www.commercehomemortgage.com and www.balboapacific.com.
“We are extremely pleased to have passed Ginnie Mae’s stringent eligibility requirements to be designated one of less than 400 approved single-family GM issuers across America,” Commerce CFO Mario DeTomasi said. “This is another step in the evolution of our company and it demonstrates our overall strengths as well as our strong commitment to providing the highest level of service at the most competitive pricing.”
The program’s strict approval process is designed to assess a candidate’s organizational, procedural, financial and quality control processes. Having received the green light on all these aspects of its business, Commerce may now work directly with Ginnie Mae to securitize mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration and guaranteed by Veterans Affairs.
Ginnie Mae grants approved lenders permission to provide competitive loan pricing in the secondary mortgage market.
“As a market leader, we are excited to be able to participate in the expansion of affordable housing opportunities. We can, now more than ever, deliver on our mission to help our clients achieve their homeownership dreams” said DeTomasi.
Originally founded in 1994 by Simonich Corporation and Bank of Walnut Creek, the company was rebranded as Commerce Home Mortgage in 2013. Since its inception, Commerce has helped thousands of clients achieve their real estate dreams. Individual homebuyers as well as real estate professionals and builders have come to rely on Commerce for its in-house underwriting, document production and funding – offerings that result in rapid approval and financing. Certified GOLD by the Green Business Bureau, Commerce is an environmentally minded firm that prioritizes sustainability through paperless workflow and eco-friendly business practices.
Commerce Home Mortgage weathered an industry meltdown by eliminating the practice of funding stated income and sub-prime loans, significantly reducing risk of defaults in its portfolio. By 2008, it received Full Eagle status from the Federal Housing Administration and Housing & Urban Development organizations, allowing the mortgage originator to grow its market share. In 2010, the annual loan originations of Commerce Mortgage had surpassed $825 million. Showing exponential growth by 2013, its annual originations increased to $1.8 billion in its retail division. This year, the company has entered the wholesale lending channel, headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and spearheaded by financial industry veteran, Shabi Asghar.
“The evolution and growth of Commerce Home Mortgage over the past 20 years could not have been possible without the dedication and integrity of our team,” expressed Scott Simonich, CEO and founder of Commerce Home Mortgage, at the company’s celebratory dinner last month. “The industry intelligence of our mortgage professionals is one of the company’s assets for which I am most grateful.”
CAMP is an organization of mortgage brokers and affiliated service providers who act as consumer advocates, linked together to create greater options in the mortgage selection process. As president of OC CAMP, Asghar will lead the organization of consumer advocates members to establish a diverse network of mortgage professionals in Orange County to make home ownership possible through a wide array of programs.
Asghar has worked in the financial services industry since receiving his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from California State University, Northridge in 1986. A southern California resident since 1980, Asghar aimed his focus on the mortgage industry in 1992, and became an industry wholesale division president three years later. He went on to launch and grow several successful mortgage companies, utilizing his expertise in the management of wholesale origination and production.
“OC CAMP’s mission is completely aligned with that of Commerce Home Mortgage, so it comes as no surprise that Shabi will help lead both organizations toward their common goal,” states Scott Simonich, CEO of Commerce Home Mortgage. “Simply put, we all want to get people back into homes.”