Notable mortgage industry hires and promotions, April 11-15

Nations Lending announced that 29-year industry veteran Jon Whittington will oversee the company’s expansion to the Hawaiian Islands. As regional manager, Whittington will focus primarily on growing Nations’ retail footprint and production volume. He previously served as president at Compass Home Loans (Compass Hawaii).

PrimeLending announced that Kelly Lee has been promoted to executive vice president and divisional manager with responsibility for loan origination production in the western third of the country. Lee joined PrimeLending in 2014 as senior vice president and regional manager for the Pacific Northwest. He has more than 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Before joining PrimeLending, Kelly served as vice president of sales and as executive vice president for a regional mortgage company. Kelly is based in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Open Mortgage appointed Andrea Easter to the newly created position of chief compliance officer. As the head of the compliance department, she will manage all risk-related functions within the company, including the development and implementation of policies and procedures regarding state and federal regulations and agency requirements. Most recently, Easter worked for Celebrity Home Loans LLC, where she was promoted from vice president of compliance to deputy chief compliance officer. Prior to working at Celebrity Home Loans, she was a senior financial examiner of mortgage origination at the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks. Easter also has held various mortgage compliance roles at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Daylight Discount Mortgage Corp. and Headway Workforce Solutions for Genworth Financial Mortgage Insurance. Easter earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Panorama Mortgage Group announced that Ramaj Balley will be president of its newly launched brand, Prosperity Capital Mortgage. Balley most recently served as senior vice president with national mortgage lender Hamilton Home Loans.

First Bank & Trust Co. welcomed Tanya Collins to the bank’s State of Franklin location as a mortgage banker. Collins joins First Bank & Trust with a decade of banking experience, specializing in mortgages, private banking and retail banking. Collins’ responsibilities will include all types of residential mortgage programs, including purchase loans, refinances, renovation loans, construction loans and home equity lines of credit.

FormFree appointed Eric Lapin to the role of chief strategy officer. In this position, Lapin will steer the strategic vision and partnerships driving FormFree’s growth. Prior to joining FormFree, Lapin served as first vice president of corporate development and national agency services at Old Republic Title. Before that, he held vice president and managing director positions at Altisource, Black Knight, First American and Credit Suisse.

TitleEase LLC hired Jason Bilbruck as vice president of business development. His past experience includes time at Stewart Title and Chicago Title, with both positions residing within the national commercial services division. He also led a sales management team at a payroll company.

Craig Cotton was hired as vice president of product at Spruce. Cotton has nearly 25 years of product experience, including five at Amazon Web Services. He also has worked for some high-growth startups and some of the world’s largest organizations. In his new role, Cotton will work to identify, build and deliver more meaningful products to serve Spruce’s clients.

Convergence Memphis Inc. announced Phyllis Robinson as executive director. Robinson, who has more than 30 years of federal government service, including 15 in senior leadership roles, previously served as the group’s project coordinator. Convergence Memphis is a nonprofit organization that was originally launched in March 2020 as a joint initiative of the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. Robinson will help the group strengthen ties within the Memphis community while promoting affordable-housing options and increasing Black homeownership rates.


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