Axia Home Loans, a Bellevue, Wash.-based retail mortgage banker, is expanding into the wholesale business with the launch of Unified Reliance Wholesale.

The wholesale channel has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, making up 16% of loans originated in 2019 according to CoreLogic. Some observers said that it currently has close to a 20% share.

The wholesale market share had previously slipped to a low of 7% in 2011, when mortgage brokers took much of the blame for creating the housing bubble.

Axia Home Loans has hired, from left, Dave Pilotte, Sigrid Hauser and Chris Seinturier to head its new wholesale unit.

UR Wholesale will source loans from mortgage brokers on the West Coast, with a particular emphasis on California. Axia already had retail operations in Northern California, Orange County and the Palm Springs area. The wholesale channel will allow it to access more densely populated markets in the state that have typically been difficult to capture via organic retail, a company spokesperson said.

Axia currently originates loans in 21 states across the country and over the trailing 12 months has produced approximately $2 billion. The company is 100% employee-owned.

Dave Pilotte is the executive vice president of the wholesale division. He is joined by Sigrid Hauser as director of underwriting and Chris Seinturier as director of operations.

Pilotte has worked in the business over 35 years in various roles in sales and operations and he was most recently at Paramount Residential Mortgage. Hauser has over 30 of experience in the mortgage business.

Meanwhile, a company that is already in the wholesale channel, Royal Pacific Funding, is adding a correspondent purchase operation.

The Costa Mesa, Calif.-based nonbank said its primary motivation for adding correspondent is to build its servicing portfolio.

“It is a good time for us to launch this channel. Correspondent lending is not an entirely new concept for RPF, we are just in a position to expand on a scalable level,” Dawn Hill, Royal Pacific’s chief financial officer, said in a press release. “We have the third-party expertise, solid relationships, and a financial position to support this operation.”

The correspondent channel will offer Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs mortgage programs.

Its wholesale channel operates in 29 states under the name Bluepoint Mortgage.

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