Veteran sales executives part ways with Movement

Three veteran sales executives at Movement Mortgage have parted ways with the South Carolina-based lender to join the competitor Summit Funding, sources told HousingWire. 

Deran Pennington, who spent the last 15 years at Movement and until June 2023 held a national sales director position, is joining Summit as a divisional leader in Charlotte.

Pennington’s departure comes a few months after Brady Yeager, a mortgage executive with over 21 years in finance and mortgage lending roles, joined Movement as national sales director. 

Pennington’s exit follows that of Matt Schoolfield, who was Movement’s leader of the South and Central division, and Chris Shelton, the lender’s leader of the Eastern U.S division, to Summit.

Schoolfield and Shelton joined Movement in 2012, were promoted as divisional leaders in February 2021, and landed at Summit in July. Another national sales director, Ignacio Metcalf, left Movement last year and joined Princeton Mortgage as its national sales director in May.  

A spokesperson for Movement declined to comment, as did Shelton. Schoolfield, Pennington and a spokesperson for Summit did not respond to HousingWire’s requests for comments. 

Movement, which focuses on the distributed retail channel, was the 15th largest U.S. mortgage lender in the first quarter of 2023, per Inside Mortgage Finance (IMF) estimates. The company originated $4.1 billion from January to March, down 39.4% compared to the same period last year but up 4.7% quarter over quarter.  

According to IMF data, California-based Summit is a far smaller player, originating $465 million in the first quarter of 2023, down 56% year over year and 14% quarter over quarter.

HousingWire reported that the Sacramento-based lender instituted a round of layoffs in late November 2022, affecting 72 employees, per a document filed with the state’s Employment Development Department

Sources said the changes at Movement come after a shakeup to the sales team’s leadership. 

In August 2022, Movement hired two executives away from rival Fairway Independent Mortgage to boost the growth and development of its distributed retail sales team. The company named 34-year veteran Sarah Middleton to the new position of chief growth officer to attract, onboard and develop sales leaders. Meanwhile, Kevin McGovern was named the director of coaching, responsible for creating a coaching platform. 

The departure of top sales executives also happened amid job cuts due to a shrinking mortgage market. 

Movement, which has more than 4,000 employees across the country, imposed a round of layoffs last week on corporate positions, highly affecting the marketing department. In total, the lender cut 50 employees, according to anonymous sources. 

Steve Rutter, who joined Movement in 2021 and was creative director, posted on LinkedIn, “This wasn’t one of those layoffs like public companies do, throwing thousands of rank-and-file workers overboard to impress stock analysts or to protect the CEO’s 8-figure bonus. Movement is privately held. They absorbed as much as they could before having to resort to a big layoff.” 

Recently, in late June, Movement announced it had agreed to pay $23.75 million to settle allegations that it improperly originated and underwrote mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs. 

In a statement, the lender said, “The relevant loans, some dating back 15 years, make up less than a half percent of our total federal loans originated during this time frame. We believe we have addressed these problems and agreed to the settlement so we can move on and continue to focus on our mission.”

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