This mortgage company in the Charlotte area is about to get bigger and add jobs

Movement Mortgage is acquiring Eagle Home Mortgage of Lennar.
Movement Mortgage is acquiring Eagle Home Mortgage of Lennar.

Movement Mortgage said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire a division of homebuilding giant Lennar Corporation, the first acquisition by the fast-expanding Indian Land, S.C., company.

Movement plans to buy the retail mortgage operations of Eagle Home Mortgage, a subsidiary of Florida-based Lennar, in a deal projected to close this month. Wednesday’s acquisition is expected to give Movement an additional 230 employees and 35 branches spread across the Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions of the U.S.

It marks the latest growth by Movement since its founding by former Carolina Panthers tight end Casey Crawford in 2008.

Once the deal closes, Movement will have more than 4,000 employees in 49 states, including about 800 currently in the Charlotte metro area, Movement spokesman Adam O’Daniel said.

Wednesday’s purchase, whose price was not disclosed, is projected to increase Movement’s annual mortgage loan volume by $1.5 billion, the company said.

In 2017, Movement said it set a company record by making more than $12.8 billion in mortgages. Totals for 2018 have not been disclosed yet, O’Daniel said.

The acquisition comes as the mortgage industry nationwide remains mired in a slowdown fueled by rising interest rates and low supplies of homes for sale. Movement announced 100 layoffs last year, including 18 in the Charlotte area, citing slowing business.

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Movement expects similar market conditions to persist in 2019 and for further consolidations across the industry as firms face such challenges, O’Daniel said.

Publicly-traded Lennar is one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S. Movement had been recruiting mortgage professionals from Eagle for a long time, before hearing that the division was going up for sale, O’Daniel said.

“It just turned out to be a great fit,” he said.

Movement’s growth has been slightly outpacing that of the overall mortgage market, according to Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance.

The company was the 28th-largest mortgage lender in the first three quarters of 2018, compared with 29th for all of 2017, 31st for 2016 and 41st for 2015, Cecala said.

“They have been slowly moving up the ranks in recent years,” he said. “That being said, their 2018 volume was down 9.1 percent in the first three quarters while the overall market was down just 5.6 percent.”

In a statement, Crawford said Movement wants to grow and looks for “growth-minded mortgage professionals who want to make a meaningful difference in their industry and communities.

“We found all of those qualities and more in the team at Eagle Home Mortgage.”

Movement has said it has been profitable every year since its founding with four employees.

In 2017, it broke ground on a second building at its South Carolina headquarters and announced plans to add more than 700 new jobs over five years at the site.

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The building is expected to open in the first three months of this year, O’Daniel said.