Cherry Creek Mortgage Company Blends Innovation with a Responsible Lending Approach

Cherry Creek Mortgage Company (CCMC) stuck to its core principles during the lending boom. Despite its ambitious aim "to provide mortgage financing to one out of every 100 homebuyers in America," the privately owned and operated mortgage banking company has insisted on "remaining true to the responsible business practices that have allowed us to succeed" over the past 27 years.

At the same time, in order to widen its customer base to reach its goal, CCMC has skillfully managed to incorporate new ideas and strategies into its "back-to-basics" approach.

As part of that innovation, CCMC crafted a PATH 2 Buy Program, targeted to consumers who are either preparing for their first home purchase or who need help with issues "that might keep them from being able to buy, such as credit history, down payment, or time on the job," explains Tom Wardrope, manager of the local branch at 4301 Hacienda Drive. These borrowers might not be ready for home ownership now, but by virtue of advising, counseling, and staying in touch, Cherry Creek can help them progress to that point.

The company also introduced a corporate benefit program, Home Benefit IQ, which offers free education, advice, special saving, and various real estate services for employers who want to provide a "unique voluntary benefit package to their employees. The program is no-cost to the employer, and Cherry Creek does all the work," Wardrope remarks.

The Hacienda branch rolled out the program recently at an event for a San Jose high school district. "Our booth was the hit of the show," he comments. Employers know that mortgage financing is a big issue for their workers. "People want to refinance, buy their first home, or buy again after a short sale, and there is a great need for trustworthy, reliable information. We offer this as a free service to employers. They just have to publicize it to the workforce."

Consumers who have lost their homes are interested in buying again for many reasons, Wardrope notes. "Moving from a home to an apartment is tough on families. For many potential borrowers, it's already been three years since their short sale or foreclosure, so they are eligible for FHA loans and are buying now."

Another motivation is record-low interest rates, he points out. "This is probably the most amazing time in history for doing something with a mortgage," he comments. In today's heated rental market, it can even be cheaper to buy than to rent.

Founded in Colorado in1986, Cherry Creek now has branches in 13 states and operations in eight more, from Indiana to the West Coast. Pleasanton was the lender's first entry into California. Wardrope, a 30-year veteran of the mortgage business, opened the office in January 2001, moving it to Hacienda in 2004.

The easy freeway access and proximity to BART help him follow another of the company's practices, establishing client relationships. "Either they come here, or we go to see them," he says. "We really value that face-to-face contact."

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