Impac Mortgage, Irvine, Calif., is entering the reverse mortgage lending business on a retail basis in the Southwest with plans to expand it later on, said company president Bill Ashmore.

The publicly traded nonbank lender will employ both outside and in-house sales staff working out of its headquarters in Southern California.

Plans are to expand the business into the Northwest then other areas on a retail basis, Ashmore told National Mortgage News. Eventually, the company will fund these loans in the wholesale channel using brokers, but that’s some time away, he noted.

Industry veterans Richard Johnson and Frank Curry are heading up the new unit. The two men had their reverse mortgage business in the same building as Impac, Ashmore noted. The company approached them and looked at what they were doing. Their operation, based on its capital, was not scalable, so Impac brought the pair under its corporate umbrella.

By being a part of Impac, it gives them scalability, better technology and access to more capital to generate business, said Ashmore.

Impac will establish a training program for the sales staff, allowing them to become reverse mortgage specialists quickly, Ashmore said. However, the firm’s reverse mortgage division will not be commingled with its forward mortgage business.

Initially Impac will be selling its production on a servicing-released basis to reverse mortgage correspondent purchasers. But eventually, he said, because the firm is a Ginnie Mae direct issuer, it will put the loans into its own securities.

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