Nearly a third of Athas employees move to Hometown Equity Mortgage

Dozens of former Athas Capital Group employees have made their way to Hometown Equity Mortgage, LLC, a dba of theLender, in recent weeks.

Over 75 employees including underwriters and account managers have moved to the California- based non-QM lender, according to Cory Tona, owner of Hometown Equity Mortgage.

The company plans to continue onboarding “as many more Athas employees as we possibly can,” Tona said in a written statement.

The migration of employees comes in the aftermath of Athas’ management announcing that it will be closing its doors after 14 years of business. 

“We had a conversation [with Athas’s founder and CEO Brian O’Shaughnessy] many days before the news broke and truthfully we were shocked,” said Tona. “Athas arguably navigated these rough waters better than anyone in 2022 but after he explained his position it was understandable. Simply put, the market is not great, and it’s likely not going to get a whole lot better over the next 12 months.”

In early November, executives at Athas published a statement explaining their reasons for shuttering the company. They noted that they expect the market to “deteriorate even further” which may result in limited liquidity.

“Our outlook for the secondary market for non-prime mortgages is that volatility will continue, liquidity will become increasingly scarce — or worse yet — unavailable for a period of time, and that loan sale premiums will be below most companies’ cost to produce,” said Alim Kassam, co-chief executive officer at Athas, in a statement published last month.

Integrating the new employees “has been tough” but has “gone better than expected,” Tona added.

“Have there been bumps? Absolutely. But overall they have all gotten situated quicker than expected and are off to the races already and they are already funding loans,” Tona said.

One account manager that made the transition to Hometown Equity noted that there are “major differences in processes, software, and underwriting guidelines.”

“We are drinking from a fire hose [in terms of onboarding], but almost everyone is adapting,” the manager said. “Just building our business, from the ground up. We have our brokers, and some were already approved with the company.”

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