Champion Mortgage Co., a king of late-night TV advertising, has changed its famous pitch line.
The Parsippany, N.J., lender's ads, which have propelled it - like the Money Store - to nationwide consciousness, no longer use the phrase, "When your bank says no, Champion says yes."
"We are doing more A-credit (home loans) than ever before," said Champion president Joseph P. Goryeb.
So the company's low-budget ads now ask, "Aren't you ready for a better way to borrow? Champion says yes."
The ads' changed taglines represents more than just a copywriter's handiwork. Champion is taking a new approach to home lending. In the next month, the lender's business will be transformed, with the TV ads speeding the changeover.
Mr. Goryeb said 85% to 90% of Champion's originations are of the best or nearly the best credit quality.
In the past, much of Champion's business had been in B-quality and C- quality first and second mortgages. But he said Champion was keeping to the high water of A credit because the credit-impaired loan market has grown so congested.
Many first-mortgage lenders that specialize in top-quality loans have in the last year or so jumped into the market for loans with lesser credit quality. The most notable has been Countrywide Credit Industries, Pasadena, Calif.
The transformation at Champion will include buying and selling loans with other lenders. Mr. Goryeb said it would sign a wholesale lending deal with a large bank within a month.
Champion will start offering home equity lines of credit by mid-April. It will also start making loans on storefronts with apartments.
Despite all these changes, Champion will remain a one-office operation in Parsippany.
"We do that for control purposes," Mr. Goryeb said. "We can see that our customers are being treated properly."
But all Champion's plans are fueled by its TV ad campaign, he said. The Money Store has also used TV advertising to launch itself into a nationwide home equity lender.