Stonegate plans to add 400 workers in expansion

Indianapolis-based Stonegate Mortgage Corp. plans to double its local work force by adding up to 400 jobs by 2017, the company announced Tuesday morning.

It plans to invest $6.2 million in new office space in Carmel, at the North Haven office park to accommodate the expansion.

The additional 21,000-square-foot office will be just north of its 81,515-square-foot headquarters campus at The Precedent office park in Marion County.

Company officials said the new positions will be in administration, support and sales. About 300 of the new employees will work from the new office space with the other 100 stationed in the existing office.

Stonegate officials said salaries for new employees in non-sales jobs will average about $50,000 to $55,000 per year. It could not immediately say how many of the new jobs would be in sales.

The company will receive financial incentives from the state if it meets hiring expectations. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Stonegate up to $4.8 million in conditional tax credits and up to $161,250 in training grants.

In a previous round of state incentives, in 2010, Stonegate promised to add 300 jobs by 2015.  It’s already met that target, having added 310 jobs.

Stonegate currently has about 400 employees in the metro area and about 1,100 nationwide.

The city of Carmel also is considering economic incentives for Stonegate.

The company is one of the nation’s fastest-growing non-bank mortgage originators, picking up businesses ceded by banks in recent years and snapping up weaker lenders.

Stonegate has been on a buying spree over the last year. In December, it bought Crossline Capital Inc., which broadened its retail presence.  In November, Stonegate bought Nationstar Mortgage Holdings.

Just last month, the company bought California-based Medallion Mortgage.

The buying spree may have given Stonegate some indigestion, however, according to analysts. Its stock closed Monday at $14.48, from a high of nearly $18.50 during its initial public stock offering last October. Shares rose 2.2 percent Tuesday morning, to $14.80.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Stonegate revenue grew 35 percent over the previous year's fourth period, to $43.8 million.

Stonegate earned a profit of $2.07 million, or 8 cents a share, down 44 percent from $3.72 million, or 38 cents, a share for the same quarter in 2012.

Nationally, mortgage originations have been falling, with January marking the lowest origination volume since 2008, according to Jacksonville, Fla.-based Black Knight Financial Services. Overall, originations were down nearly 60 percent year-over-year.

Not only have rates risen since early last year, but the majority of those who could refinance at historically low rates already have, said Black Knight.

Curiously, home equity lending rose 26 percent over the same period in 2012. But it was still down 90 percent from the boom year of 2006.

Stonegate, which has been profitable every year since 2008, has sought to diminish the effects of downturns by diversifying its business to handle originations, financing and the servicing of loans.

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