Cendant Mortgage is going to the movies-at least for hiring purposes.
The mortgage bank, based in Mount Laurel, N.J., and formerly known as PHH Mortgage Services, is expanding dramatically. It is hiring 150 to 200 people a month, fueling the buildup with advertising on local movie screens and radio stations, and at employee referral nights. Current employees are being offered incentives of up to $2500 for successful referrals.
And the advertising campaign is headed for the sky. During the summer, the company plans to take it to the New Jersey shoreline, flying a banner over Atlantic City's beaches.
The buildup signals that Cendant Corp.'s recent difficulties, stemming from accounting irregularities in other units, have not slowed the mortgage juggernaut which was created through a series of mergers starting with an April 1997 deal between PHH and HFS Inc.
That pairing extended the mortgage company's reach to a huge network of real estate brokers and other affiliates including Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and ERA. HFS later merged with CUC International Inc. to form Cendant Corp., which says it makes over 100 million customer contacts each year.
The company, which continues to work with Wells Fargo & Co., U.S. Bancorp, and others who outsource their mortgage operations, is expected to vault into the top five originators from 13th place in June 1997.
"It's really a hyper-growth situation," said Paris Couturiaux, senior vice president of human resources. "I've never seen anything like this. It's getting the people and putting up the facilities and providing the best service that we can."
Indeed, Cendant Mortgage is poised to become a mortgage powerhouse as it aims to hire 4,800 people for its new campus-style headquarters. The company currently employs 2,600, he said.
Cendant Mortgage's plans call for several buildings, including a 375,000-square-foot main facility and a 100,000-square-foot office, he said. Today, the company leases 11 buildings in Mount Laurel.
Cendant Mortgage gets mortgage leads from other Cendant Corp. units, especially the relocation company, Cendant Mobility Services, said Mr. Couturiaux. In addition, outside providers of services pay Cendant Corp. a preferred alliance fee in exchange for an endorsement of their product or service to various divisions of Cendant, sources said.
Cendant Mortgage's large teleservicing operation has helped fuel the company's growth, said Mr. Couturiaux. "We see very few of the customers personally," he said. Instead, the company has contact with them by phone, the World Wide Web, and overnight mail, he said.