There are trends that come and go, and then there are trends that evolve into the norm; the concept of real estate firms expanding into mortgage brokering, as Norwell, Mass.-based Jack Conway & Co., has done, may ultimately fall into the latter category. Jack Conway, the Commonwealth’s largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage, announced in February that it had partnered with New Penn Financial, a nationwide lender headquartered in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., to create Conway Financial, a joint venture mortgage company providing the real estate brokers’ clients with in-house mortgage services.
“We’re realizing the need to supply buyers with absolute, full service programs,” said Janet Bradshaw, manager of Conway Financial Services, which will also be based in Norwell. “We feel strongly that it empowers the borrower, especially in a competitive market.”
Conway Financial is not the only new kid on the block; there appears to be an increasing number of real estate brokerage firms forming partnerships to expand into mortgage lending. In February, Realogy Holdings Corp., the largest full-service residential real estate services company in the U.S., entered into a joint venture agreement with retail mortgage company Guaranteed Rate Inc. Together the partners formed Guaranteed Rate Affinity LLC, which, beginning in June 2017, will originate and market mortgage lending services to Realogy’s real estate brokerage and relocation divisions. In January, real estate brokerage and title company Redfin decided to get into the mortgage game in a solo endeavor, announcing the creation of Redfin Mortgage. The lending division will begin providing Redfin clients with loans by the end of the second quarter. RE/MAX made its entrée into the mortgage market in October 2016, launching Motto Mortgage. The new division, the second in RE/MAX Holdings Inc.’s group of brands, will open mortgage franchises across the U.S., where loan originators and Redfin real estate offices will work hand in hand.
These partnerships are popping up all over the country. Jack Conway, with a concentration of offices stretching from Swampscott to Harwich, has a blanket presence in Eastern Massachusetts, and other locations give the firm a notable footprint in the western and southern portions of the state. New Penn, which was established in the early days of the economic downturn in 2008, is one of the fastest growing lenders in the country.
Through Conway Financial, clients working with real estate brokers in all Jack Conway offices will have immediate access to personal consultations with loan officers. “Conway Financial feels confident that we can supply borrowers with as much information as possible to purchase a home so they know exactly what that means and what it translates to for them monthly. Because we’re a full-service lender, we have just about every loan program to fit the financial footprint of just about every borrower,” Bradshaw added. Bradshaw is a common thread between the new joint venture partners; she commenced her career in the real estate industry at Jack Conway in 1998 and in May 2016, moved over to New Penn.