by Michele Gillis, Staff Writer
A new branch of Real Estate Mortgage Network, a mortgage bank, has opened in Jacksonville and Jamie Zeitz, formally a renovation specialist with Wells Fargo, is at the helm.
The company, which was founded in 1989 in New Jersey, decided to open a branch in Jacksonville in August 2012 because they felt it was the right market to target for a national bank in this environment.
“We are a national bank but we just didn’t have a presence in Jacksonville,” said Zeitz. “We starting really growing Florida this year and this was a key market. We are entering the Tampa/Clearwater area next. Our regional office is in Atlanta. We have really positioned ourselves to grow as a company since there are not many mortgage banks around anymore.”
Zeitz said REMN opened a branch in Orlando early last year.
“Jacksonville was on their radar; they were just looking for the right person,” he said. “I had talked to one of the REMN managers a year ago when I was still a renovation specialist. He had kept me on his email list and while I was talking to different people about opportunities, he reached out to me and said they were looking to open a branch in Jacksonville.”
Zeitz hired Elizabeth Perez-Keene as a mortgage loan originator when he opened Crexent Business Center and has since added two more loan originators, Steve Fishman and Rose Pinto.
“We are continually searching for the right fits to continue our growth both locally and nationally,” said Zeitz.
Zeitz said Realtors are very important to the success of the new business.
“Realtors are the most important thing,” he said. “Referrals are the lifeblood of your business. Your long-term business comes from Realtors because 65-70 percent of people listen to their Realtor’s referrals when they need to talk to a lender.”
Though Zeitz hasn’t been in a management position in mortgages before, he was in the athletics and administration arena for many years. He headed the sports publicity office at the University of North Florida.
“I like the opportunity to hire and build a team,” he said. “I really enjoy being able to educate, teach and work with a team.”
REMN has four main divisions, consumer direct, retail, wholesale and correspondent.
“We are a direct mortgage bank, which means we have a lot of capital and retain the servicing rights,” he said. “We hold our loans and the papers and we don’t sell the loans. While we do all traditional products that anyone who is a player is doing, one of our differences is that we are still boutique enough with 1,200 employees that we are flexible. We have at least 20 different lending partners that we can either correspond or broker with for whatever niche product we need. We are a boutique size, but we are a big enough lender to have a direct banking presence, so we have a good mix here.”