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eXp and Kind plan mortgage JV by October

The partnership, called Success, is recruiting loan officers across the country.

The second big mortgage joint venture announcement this week is a meeting of the Glenns.

Glenn Sanford’s eXp World Holdings announced Thursday a mortgage joint venture with Glenn Stearns’s Kind Lending, called Success Lending. The declaration comes 48 hours after Compass and Guaranteed Rate told of a definitive agreement to begin their own mortgage joint venture, OriginPoint.

Compass and Guaranteed Rate were mum on their partnership’s details, but more is known about Success.

The company is not ready to launch, an eXp spokesperson acknowledged, as it tries to license itself in each state. In an email to HousingWire, Stearns said he hopes to launch Success by October. A president of Success will be announced next week, Stearns said.

The company will be headquartered in Santa Ana, California, Stearns said, home of Kind Lending. But “Success lending will follow a similar path that eXp has done and be mostly virtual.”

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By both companies’ admission, a major key to Success’s success will be hiring loan officers.

“Success lending is looking for the most qualified mortgage professionals in the country in the industry who are committed to top service and best customer experience,” the eXp spokesperson said.

Many LOs still have a relatively full pipeline thanks to lower-than-expected mortgage rates and slowly climbing housing inventory – it will be a challenge convincing them to leave their current shops.

Kind Lending started in April 2020 with a focus on wholesale lending, after Stearns spent over two decades running his namesake mortgage firm, Stearns Lending. Stearns exited that company after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and bought by Blackstone Group, and he starred on the Discovery Channel’s reality TV show “Undercover Billionaire” before founding Kind.

“Kind started out with its focus on wholesale because our team is not only very good at wholesale but because it was the easiest way to scale,” Stearns said.

Kind has since started a retail channel and claims to have originated nearly $4 billion overall in its first 12 months as a company.

eXp, meanwhile, is following in the footsteps of not just Compass but most other national brokerages, including Realogy and HomeServices of America, that have their own mortgage arm.

During the pandemic, the 12-year-old Bellingham, Washington-based company became a darling of Wall Street, partly for its Sims-esque virtual brokerage. Nary a week went by where eXp was not announcing an influx of new agents (now over 50,000) or expansion into new countries (19 by the end of this September).

But eXp’s stock has dipped from a high of $80 per share in February to $33 as of Friday. The company now has a $4.2 billion market capitalization, less than half of its previous market value.

Unclear is what pressure eXp’s agents may feel to direct their clients to Success. Under federal law, real estate and mortgage transactions should be conducted separately, but that has not deterred the recent proliferation of joint ventures.

Asked if agents would be nudged to use Success, the eXp spokesperson said, “Our agents have the autonomy to recommend any mortgage lending options to their clients so that they can truly identify the best solution. But we are confident that Success mortgage lending will be a favored mortgage option due to their level of service.”

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