Radius’s New ARM + Monoline Q&A

To some brokers, Radius Financial is perceived as just another monoline lender selling plain-Jane insured mortgages. Until now, its shortage of competitive products had a lot to do with that. But Radius took a big step on Monday by adding a range of new mortgages.

Headlining its new lineup is a red-hot prime — 0.70% adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). It’s a high-ratio full-frills full-comp product with 20/20 prepayment options and a standard (i.e., fair) penalty. Radius also added a new conventional mortgage line with better, albeit not spectacular, pricing.

These moves will only help Radius, whose submission volumes rocketed 300% last year versus 2011 — albeit from a relatively small base. That growth ranked it second in the industry among the top 20 lenders. (It opened up to all brokers in 2011. Previously, it was a proprietary lender for Mortgage Architects.)

To handle that growth, Alex Haditaghi, Chairman and Founder of Pacific Mortgage Group (Radius’s parent) says the firm has hired 18 staff in the last 12 months. That includes top underwriters lured from two of the four biggest broker lenders.

While researching this story we had an informative exchange with CEO Ron Swift about Radius’s funding and strategy. His feedback also reflected what other monolines face these days when putting out competitive products.