Greenridge Partners With Wells Fargo
Greenridge Realty has hitched onto the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage wagon.
Forming partnerships with real estate companies is one of the ways Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a separate division of Wells Fargo & Co., grows itself.
“Another big way we grow ourselves on the retail side is by adding originators to our marketplace and building a referral network,” said Ken Ek, area manager.
Under an agreement signed by the two companies Wednesday, Greenridge becomes one of a handful of real estate companies in Michigan in partnership with Wells Fargo.
Geenridge Mortgage Services will give way to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage over the next three months, said Chip Perschbacher, a principal with Greenridge.
When the transition is complete, mortgages will run through the Wells Fargo savings bank in Minneapolis, and Greenridge will be able to use the bank for mortgage services in all 50 states.
“We were a mortgage broker and we’re now, with this joint venture, going to be a savings bank. What that allows us to do is to have all kinds of product that a bank would have — everything from reversed mortgages and interest-only mortgages to private banking options for our customers and clients,” Perschbacher said.
“Wells Fargo will be the managing partner for it and we will be on the marketing and sales side of it.”
Greenridge customers will have the option of hooking up with Wells Fargo for home loans and other related financial services available to them. Wells Fargo will likely have a link on the Greenridge Web site, too, Perschbacher said.
Wells Fargo has a private mortgage banking group but Michigan is a non-banking state for Wells Fargo, so people in Grand Rapids couldn’t open up a checking account, Ek said.
“It’s actually very impressive — the amount of mortgages we have done in this area without a bank presence,” he added.
Wells Fargo will get all the mortgage business Greenridge can direct to it through clients. For Greenridge, the joint venture means additional convenience for clients as well as sales agents.
“It will provide our customers and clients with a multitude of financial products that will allow the Greenridge agent to provide one-stop shopping for everybody,” Perschbacher said.
As a mortgage broker, Greenridge had a lot of investors buying different mortgages. Now it will have only one investor: Wells Fargo.
“We had up to 15 different investors that we would place special loans with and what not,” he noted.
“We’re trying to make it easier for everybody. It’s just a much better opportunity for us to fully service our customers and clients in the one-stop venue of Greenridge Real Estate.”
He said there will be some employee dislocation because Greenridge’s backroom staff, now doing the processing in Troy, Mich., won’t be a part of the venture. He said those people are being relocated to other positions and offices at Greenridge.
Through the 90-day transition period, it will be business as usual for Greenridge from the mortgage brokerage standpoint, Perschbacher said. More people will have to be hired as part of the venture, and all home mortgage counselors will train with Wells Fargo.
“There’s going to be some start-up time that’s involved with it and some wind-down time on our other stuff because all the deals that are in process right now have to be processed and closed out.”
Perschbacher went looking for the partnership.
Greenridge has a title company joint venture with National Provider Chicago Title, which has been very successful and well received, he said. So he intentionally sought out national partnership opportunities on the mortgage side.
He said the fact that Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is the No. 1 mortgage originator and mortgage servicer in the U.S. was a big part of the attraction.
“It’s very exciting from that standpoint to have the power of No. 1 Wells Fargo join the No. 1 real estate company in West Michigan,” he added.
According to Ek, Wells Fargo mortgage originated more than 1 million loans totaling more than $194 billion in 2001 and mortgage services generating some $425 billion.
In addition to access to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage through the Greenridge partnership, Wells Fargo has two home mortgage offices in Grand Rapids and expects to add two more by the end of this year, Ek said. There also is one Wells Fargo Home Mortgage office in Battle Creek and one in Holland.
“We’re always looking for ways to increase our market share and for better ways to serve more customers,” Ek added. BJ