Planet acquires Platinum Home Mortgage Corporation

Connecticut-based lender and servicer Planet Home Lending has acquired the assets of Illinois-based retail lender Platinum Home Mortgage Corporation. The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. 

With the acquisition, Planet will inherit the majority of Platinum’s origination staff and branches throughout the country. The deal also expands Planet’s footprint in the Midwest, Northwest and West Coast markets. 

Founded in 1993 by Bill and Michael Giambrone, Platinum has 22 branches and 79 active loan officers, according to the mortgage tech platform Modex. The company’s assets will add to Planet’s 30 branches and 128 active LOs. 

“I don’t think retail is great for anybody right now with rates high and home values high, but it’s a good time to be investing in retail,” Michael Dubeck, CEO and president of Planet Financial Group, parent of Planet Home Lending, said in an interview.

“We’re taking a long-run view that it’s going to pay off. It’s an investment down the road,” the executive added. “We look to acquire right-sized, financially solid distributed retail companies.” 

Platinum’s current president and CEO, Lee Gross, will join Planet as senior vice president and continue to lead the Platinum team. According to Gross, the move to the new company brings “access to improved pricing, technology and marketing to Platinum’s branches.” 

“In addition to agency and GSE home loans, Planet also has niche products tailored to today’s tight real estate markets, including self-funded One-Time Close (OTC) construction loans as well as manufactured housing and renovation mortgage loans,” Gross said in a statement.  

Planet, which originates loans through the correspondent and retail channels, plans to grow organically and via mergers and acquisitions. However, according to Dubeck, the lender has no plans to enter the wholesale space, as it would create channel conflicts. 

In April 2022, Planet agreed to acquire assets from Homepoint’s delegated correspondent channel for $2.5 million in cash. The transaction doubled Planet’s clients base in the correspondent space, with 60% of these clients delivering loans monthly to the lender, Dubeck said.  

“Correspondent is probably our most mature and efficient channel,” Dubeck added. 

Planet was the third largest correspondent lender in the first quarter of 2023, following Pennymac Financial and AmeriHome Mortgage, per Inside Mortgage Finance (IMF) estimates

The lender originated $6.5 billion in mortgage loans from January to March, with $6.3 billion from the correspondent channel. According to IMF, it was enough for the lender to become the 9th largest mortgage lender in the country.

Regarding its servicing portfolio, it had $68 billion in owned mortgage servicing in the first quarter of 2023, the 29th largest servicer by this metric in the U.S. In early May, the company launched a commercial servicing division led by James DePalma and Janina Woods.  

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