With Homeside Financial, Dan Snyder is changing the way customers and professionals look at the mortgage business.

With Homeside Financial, Dan Snyder is changing the way customers and professionals look at the mortgage business.

Co-founder and Managing Partner Dan Snyder sees Homeside Financial as a mortgage bank that can change how customers and employees alike look at the mortgage business.

At 35, he not only remembers how unpopular mortgage lending was as a career choice when he graduated from Ohio University in 2003, he's also acutely aware of the industry's hangover from overly aggressive lending practices and the foreclosures that followed in 2008-2010. But the pendulum has swung toward better documentation and tighter lending criteria, and the buyer's market of 10 years ago now belongs to sellers.

"Right now we have the highest quality customer in the history of mortgage lending. The average FICA score is north of 700, and the amount of documentation and fact-checking needed goes far beyond income and assets. It has certainly righted the ship," Snyder says.

Despite scarce properties, Homeside believes rapid growth is still possible. From its start as a small company in temporary quarters at the end of 2013, Homeside now enjoys modern offices at Easton, employs 363 people and covers 28 states and Washington, D.C., with the goal of further expansion geographically–and, Snyder says, expansion into mortgage servicing.

"We've built our business model platform around blending modern technology with old-fashioned handholding. It speaks to those who are young, up-and-coming competitors," he says. Growth has come by acquiring local mortgage brokers and lenders.

Meanwhile, Homeside continues to recruit from Ohio's public universities. "It's a huge advantage to us, millenials serving millenials, starting to improve the perception that mortgage lending as a career isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing," Snyder says.

Snyder learned the business at Wells Fargo's Westerville office, where he became one of the bank's youngest managers.

Ultimately, though, Snyder and a close-knit group of partners wanted to form their own mortgage-only company, not work at a bank of many products. Seeking investments from friends and family, they began assembling their privately held mortgage bank in late 2013. Snyder sought out other relative newcomers to the industry who felt they could figure out regulation and reforms and work quickly, while still supplying the human touch to win over loyal customers.

Snyder says Homeside's growth comes from several core strategies:

• 50 percent faster loan closings due to technology and pre-approval work;

• Reinvesting in the best employees through based training programs and longer shadowing programs;

• Building effective legal, compliance, operations and investment departments to meet today's tighter regulatory standards; and

• Combining proprietary technology with support for customers.

"We have a proprietary system called Client Connect ... to collect truly detailed customer notes," Snyder says. "Customers come to the website looking to buy a home, but maybe it's not the right time. Maybe they have student loan debt, a new job or a new baby. When the time is right, we want to reach back out to the client and remind them about Homeside."

That system also works well for Ryan Ruehle, a real estate agent at Cutler Real Estate. "Today, it's very important right up front not just to get pre-qualified for a loan, but also pre-approved," Ruehle says.

With Client Connect, Homeside can quickly provide pre-approvals. "If you and I are looking at a house tonight and some of those things weren't in place, that house could be gone tomorrow," Ruehle says.

Mike Mahoney is a freelance writer.