Subprime lender Long Beach Financial Corp. has hired William A. Komperda, an expert in securitization, to help it develop strategy as a newly public company.
Mr. Komperda was most recently senior vice president at Greenwich (Conn.) Capital Markets Inc., where he developed some of the earliest securities backed by B and C mortgage loans.
Long Beach Financial, Orange, Calif., is following a familiar strategy in the subprime industry. Subprime lenders have gone public at a rapid clip in the past two years and pulled outsiders on board to help them deal with the more rigorous requirements public trading presents. Executives with experience in the volatile field are in high demand.
Mr. Komperda turned down several offers from other subprime lenders, he said, and picked Long Beach because of its strong management team. "I've worked with almost all of the B-and-C guys-and I know these guys the best," he said.
There are some "very good players in the market," he said, many of whom have grown dramatically, but "they don't all have the management of Long Beach."
At Long Beach, Mr. Komperda will fill the newly created position of managing director, capital markets and strategic planning. "He will be a key member of our senior management team," said Long Beach chairman and chief executive M. Jack Mayesh, in a written statement. Mr. Komperda, 37, will take a key role in developing and executing growth strategies at Long Beach, Mr. Mayesh said.
Although Long Beach does not directly securitize its loans, it needs someone with expertise to solicit buyers because most of its loans eventually wind up securitized, Mr. Komperda said.
Mr. Komperda spent seven years with the structured finance group at Greenwich, where he helped such lenders as Cityscape Financial Corp., Money Store, and Equicredit secure funding.
Besides shepherding Long Beach's relationships with the capital market, he will also head the company's start-up retail production origination channel, Mr. Komperda said.
Last year Long Beach originated mortgage loans in 43 states, predominantly through its broker network. The company went public April 29 after a delay because of poor market conditions. Long Beach was initially slated to offer shares at $10 to $12 but came to market at $6.50.
Since then the company's stock has risen moderately. It closed Thursday at $8.625.
Mr. Komperda dismisses recent industry fears that Wall Street may lose its appetite for securities backed by subprime mortgage loans.
"If you make the capital markets comfortable, there will be a place for you," he said.
Nonetheless, thorough due diligence is a crucial part of maintaining stability in the industry, he noted. "If due diligence isn't done at the banker level, it will be a problem for everyone," he said.