Ross Mortgage expands into West Michigan

July 21, 2012
| By Pete Daly |
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Ross Mortgage Corp., a residential mortgage lender based in Royal Oak, has expanded into West Michigan with offices in Belmont and Newaygo.

The firm announced June 13 the opening of its suburban Grand Rapids office at 2350 Belmont Center Drive NE in Belmont. In February, it announced the opening of an office in Newaygo at 8235 Mason Drive.

Ross Mortgage provides conventional fixed rate mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages, FHA mortgages, VA mortgages, 203(k) loans and reverse mortgages.

Founded in southeast Michigan in 1949 by Hugh Ross, Ross Mortgage now has 15 offices across Michigan, plus others in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida.

Ross Mortgage Vice President Ken Panosian said the most "traction" the firm has received in outstate Michigan is wholesale lending through independent real estate brokers.

Panosian said independent brokers are interested in Ross because "big banks look great on a billboard, but they can be a little bit difficult to work with because they're so big."

He said that by wholesaling loans through independent brokers, Ross has expanded opportunities to lend directly to home buyers because the company is getting better known throughout the residential real estate industry.

Panosian said Ross employs more than 150 and lends more than $400 million a year.

"I firmly believe the mortgage market is really on the uptick," said Panosian, adding that the quality of loans made over the last two or three years "have never been better across America."

Due to the decline in home values during the recession, and the subsequent halt in home construction, there is a now a lack of inventory that is beginning to spark new home construction and supporting home prices. Existing homes for sale are turning much faster, too, he said.

"Home ownership is still the American dream," said Panosian, although he mentioned that now consumers are "being more prudent in the way they go about their home ownership."

When asked to identify the biggest challenge today to the home mortgage industry, Panosian pointed to government. "I think the overarching challenge for anybody in this industry is the legislation, the over-reaction of the role of the government in the industry as a whole — not just Michigan, but coast to coast, north to south. You have a lot of legislation that every company has to wade through in order to make a home loan these days."

When asked if there is any specific impending action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that the mortgage industry is watching for, he replied, "Absolutely." However, when asked for specifics, Panosian said it was "too long to describe" because it is "a very detailed Act."

"They're still trying to find their way as to all the pieces that need to come together in that agency," he added. "The whole industry just carefully watches it on a daily and weekly basis as to how they are going to implement and interpret a lot of the laws that are authored within that agency."

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