Notable mortgage industry hires and promotions, March 6-10

Mr. Cooper Group announced two executive leadership appointments: Kurt Johnson as chief financial officer and Christine Paxton as executive vice president and chief risk and compliance officer. Johnson joined the company in 2015 and most recently served as chief risk and compliance officer. With 25 years in the mortgage industry, Johnson has experience in originations, servicing, treasury, portfolio management and financial planning. In 2019, Johnson became the company’s chief credit officer responsible for setting all credit-risk-related policy and governance before being promoted to his role as chief risk and compliance officer in early 2021. Paxton returns to Mr. Cooper from Wells Fargo, where she most recently served as senior vice president of control management and managed risk for the home lending and servicing business. Before that, she served as senior vice president of enterprise risk at Mr. Cooper Group. Paxton also served in leadership roles at Capital One and Citi.

Cenlar FSB announced that Michelle DeHart has joined the company as vice president of loan operations for escrow. She will spearhead all escrow functions including tax, insurance and escrow analysis. Prior to joining Cenlar, DeHart served at Home Point Financial as senior director of escrow. Upon the acquisition of the subservicing portfolio by ServiceMac, she joined the company as a vice president overseeing property insurance and mortgage insurance.

Churchill Mortgage announced two moves, with Jesse Vazquez joining the company as vice president of talent acquisition and Kelly Lee being elevated to executive vice president of national production. Lee originally joined Churchill in June 2022 as senior vice president of production for the Pacific Northwest region. Lee previously served as an executive vice president and divisional manager at PrimeLending, growing its West Coast presence over the course of seven years from $280 million to $3.1 billion, eventually leading to a role expansion that allowed him to oversee the management of $7.25 billion. Prior to PrimeLending, Lee was vice president of sales and executive vice president for a regional mortgage company. He is a U.S. Army veteran. Vazquez brings a 27-year track record in talent acquisition to the Churchill team, with a history of building robust internal recruiting operations at multiple stops on his journey, including Stearns Lending and First Guaranty Mortgage Corp.

Newfi Wholesale appointed John Wise as senior vice president of West Coast sales. Most recently, Wise was Northwest regional sales manager at Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions, overseeing Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Hawaii.

Sagent appointed former Wells Fargo and Home Point Financial servicing executive Perry Hilzendeger as executive vice president of servicing. Most recently, Hilzendeger was president of servicing for Home Point Financial. Prior to that, he served in key Wells Fargo executive leadership roles, including as head of retail and servicing operations.


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