Arvest Still No. 1 in Arkansas, Cornerstone Closes Shop

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 12:00 am  

Michael Powell

Carroll, a 39-year veteran mortgage lender who started his own business in 1995, appreciates Powell’s frustration with the new landscape. Dealing with underwriters often can turn into a slog through shifting sands of regulatory interpretation.

“It’s not as fun as it used to be,” Carroll said. “We get referrals all the time from customers who can’t get their loans done with the big banks.

“They’re all risk averse, and they’re scared of regulators. They’re also scared of making loans. The way they’re going about [fixing] it is counterproductive. They’re being so inconsistent.”

Bank of America’s mortgage operation in Arkansas went dormant in 2011 as the financial giant devoted its resources to sorting out and reorganizing its mortgage operations nationwide.

Josh Neal, who left in 2010 to join U.S. Bank Home Mortgage, was among 13 top producing mortgage lenders who left Bank of America during the corporate reshuffling.

Neal was rehired in 2011 and charged with helping rebuild BOA’s mortgage lending operations in Arkansas. That restaffing effort began with three associates and has climbed to 10.

“We’re still dealing with the challenges of last year,” Neal said. “This year, we’re going to get out and hire more.”

Bank of America Home Loans reappeared among the state’s largest mortgage lenders at No. 23, with a mortgage total of $52 million.



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