NMP - July 2018 - 40

NMP Mortgage Profession
Milton Karavites
Senior Regional Vice President
New American Funding
BY PHIL HALL

ilton Karavites is a Senior Regional Vice
President for Tustin, Calif.-based New
American Funding, where he is responsible for
the company's lending activities in the
Colorado, Utah and Alaska markets. National
Mortgage Professional Magazine recently spoke with Karavites
regarding this three-decade career in the mortgage profession
and his thoughts on the state of the mortgage industry and
housing market.

M

When did you get into the
mortgage profession, and was
this your original career
choice?
I started at the age of 21. I was a
senior at Colorado State
University and my brother-in-law
had entered the business about
two or three years earlier. I was
getting ready to graduate with a
degree and had no idea what to
do with it, when he suggested I
look into the mortgage
profession, so I did. That was 33
years ago, I started with
Universal Lending in Denver,
they were a local small
correspondent lender.
How did you wind up at New
American Funding?
The same brother-in-law that
helped me enter the business
and I worked together at several
companies for approximately 28
years. After the recession, we
were both looking for a new
company to call home, one day
he called me and said, "I think
that I found the company that we
can get back together and do

something special." I flew out to
California to meet with the team
at New American Funding,
which, at the time, was a much
smaller company than it is today.
At the time, they were looking to
expand their retail footprint
outside of the Southern
California region. I really liked
the culture and operations
model, and within weeks, I
opened their first location
outside of California on Nov. 1,
2012 in Greenwood Village,
Colo.
What makes New American
Funding different from the
competition?
Primarily, the same things that
drew me to New American
Funding still exist today ...
culture, operations and our
people. We have also grown into
one of the best marketing and
technology platforms in the
industry. Our culture allows our
team to grow and gives them the
wherewithal to do so. Combine
this with what I refer to as being
a true direct lender and we have

something very special. What I
mean by being a true direct
lender is that we not only sell
directly to the agencies, but we
also retain the servicing on
nearly 98 percent of our
production, which helps remove
the hurdles of investor overlays.
In my region-which covers
Colorado, Utah and Alaska-we
funded more than $1 billion last
year, and we are on track to
exceed that number this year.
We also market our customers
jointly between Loan Officers and
Real Estate Agent partners, for
example, we co-market to our
borrowers with our post-close
campaign after they close a
purchase loan with us. This way,
if the customer wants to offer a
reference to another homebuyer
or they decide to buy a second
house or an investment property,
we're right in front of them. Part
of this marketing includes adding
the photo and contact
information of our Loan Officer
and Real Estate Agents right on
the mortgage statement. This is a
real game-changer.

Not many lenders do their
own servicing. Why did your
company opt to follow that
strategy?
We had a subservicing company
that was not providing the level
of service that our company
demands. So, we decided to
bring it in-house and hired
quality team members to handle
the entire servicing experience.
We control everything about the
loan process.
How would you categorize
today's housing market?
It is as difficult as I've seen.
Honestly, the one other time
that it was this difficult was
back in 1988. Today's
challenges, of course, are very
different on Loan Officers:
Compressing margins, rates
increasing and the lack of
inventory, along with
competition that wasn't there a
year ago: Internet lenders, call
centers and credit unions have
all jumped into the purchase
business because the refinance
business has been so slow.



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