Where is the industry headed in the second half of 2019, and how is it handling the current rate environment? Matt Ostrander, Co-founder, CEO, and Chairman of Parkside Lending, discussed this with Mortgage Media’s Tom Wilkins at the California Mortgage Bankers Association Western Secondary Market Conference.
Ostrander co-founded Parkside in 2004 – a boom time for mortgage lending. Parkside, based in San Francisco, weathered the downturn and today is a national leader in wholesale, retail, and correspondent lending.
Speaking on a CEO panel at the Western Secondary Market Conference earlier this month in San Francisco, Ostrander and fellow panelists (Mike Fontaine, Gary Martell, Bill Lowman, Jeff Walsh, and Mike Yates), discussed market trends, diversity in the marketplace, opportunities around technology, and rates.
And looking back to starting Parkside, Ostrander, a former musician who admittedly said he knew nothing about the mortgage industry, recalled how attending the California MBA’s Western Secondary Market Conference helped him learn about the industry.
“I remember sitting in this very same room that I was just on a panel for, listening to guys from Countrywide and all the big companies back in the day, back in ’04, and learning all these little snippets about the company and how to run the company in this industry.”
Fast-forward, and Ostrander has sat on the California MBA’s board for nine years. He has also chaired the organization, and led the Western Secondary Market Conference for several years.
“It was nice to give back over the last decade,” he said. “Back to the organization that really helped me learn about the industry and grow.”
And Ostrander sees the industry continuing to grow – especially in light of the current favorable rate environment.
“I think most, if not all, companies in the United States have seen their volume really increase,” he said. “I know that at Parkside, we’ve seen our volume grow by about 2.5X since the beginning of the year. And I think that that probably will continue definitely through Q3. We might see some seasonality slowdown in Q4, but who knows. With the rate environment, if it stays where it is, it could be a very strong Q4 and Q1 (for 2020).”
As a member of Freddie Mac’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Advisory Board, Ostrander is always closely following what’s happening next with the GSEs.
“I just read something today that they don’t want to take it out of conservatorship unless there’s a plan for the next crisis that would come up, which I liked to hear,” he said. “I also think it’s probably a good idea to get it out of conservatorship. It’s been quite a while now and hopefully it gets out.”
As for the future of Parkside, Ostrander sees potential for further development through M&A activity.
“We’ve expanded quite a bit over the last year. We started retail in August of 2018. It’s grown to around I think around 25 branches in the last 11 months,” he said. “ We’re always looking for great opportunities to partner up with people and grow. But we have to also be measured in the way that we grow so that we can continue to provide excellent service. But yeah, always open to more M&A opportunities and always open to business ventures with people.”
Ostrander also emphasized how important it is for entrepreneurs to have balance and make a deliberate effort to put work aside. He does that by taking extended vacations with family, coaching his kids’ soccer teams and playing music – with old bandmates and his children.