Hampstead Financial Corp. is aiming to be the prototype of a new breed of mortgage company: one in which home loans open the door for brokers to sell a variety of financial services and products.
The year-old Fort Lee, N.J., company has assembled a veteran management team, including executives from Citicorp Mortgage and Prudential Home Mortgage Co., to steer mortgage brokers away from being one-product purveyors toward more of a financial planner role.
"We call it 'product globalization,'" said Michael Landau, Hampstead's founder and president. "We want brokers to expand their array of products to the maximum allowed under federal and state lending regulations."
Mr. Landau said he envisions mortgage brokers' being licensed to sell insurance and other financial products and becoming employees of Hampstead, which would act as wholesaler of these products. "Our broker-employees would operate one-stop financial service centers in their communities," he said.
Right now, most mortgage brokers handle only home loans, leaving other financial services to banks, securities brokers, or financial planners.
Hampstead's drive to be a one-stop shop places the company in a growing group of lenders trying to sell more products to their mortgage customers. While most companies are switching to the one-stop approach after years of doing it the traditional way, Hampstead would be one of the first formed with an all-encompassing approach from the outset, industry observers said.
The company is building its lending operations and is also talking with insurers and other financial service firms about handling their products, Mr. Landau said.
Mr. Landau, a lawyer and onetime real estate developer, said he is bankrolling the venture himself. "I believe in what I'm doing," he said.
Mr. Landau has surrounded himself with a clutch of veterans. Among them are Milt Golenberg, executive vice president and treasurer, who is a former senior Prudential executive; John Harrigan, operations chief, who held similar posts at Sovereign and First Fidelity banks; and William R. Morad, the top wholesaling executive, who had been regional wholesaling chief at Citicorp Mortgage and Bear Stearns Mortgage Co.
Hampstead also has a cadre of mortgage pros acting as advisers, including Larry E. Swedroe, former vice chairman at Prudential Mortgage, and Terry Williams, former executive vice president at Chemical Mortgage.
Mr. Swedroe, now with a St. Louis money management firm, said the company faces an uphill battle because the concept is relatively new and the mortgage business is extremely competitive.
But Mr. Swedroe added that Mr. Landau's commitment to the business and his roster of talent give the venture a fighting chance.