Mr. Hsieh, 50, is the chairman, chief executive and founder of loanDepot, a nonbank consumer mortgage lender with headquarters in Foothill Ranch, Calif., and Plano, Tex.
Mr. Hsieh, who started the company in 2010, was also the founder of HomeLoanCenter.com, which merged in 2004 with the IAC/InterActiveCorp subsidiary LendingTree. He was LendingTree’s president until his departure in 2007.
Interview conducted and condensed by
Q. You started loanDepot when the mortgage industry was still struggling from the financial crisis.
A. After leaving LendingTree, I saw the mushroom cloud in the industry, and all the massive disruption and chaos that happened. And because of that I saw a huge opportunity.
Q. How so?
A. The majority of nonbanks — specialty lenders, especially mortgage lenders — did not survive. And then you had the banking area go through not only massive consolidation, but many of the banks didn’t survive because of the crisis. So you have a lack of lending; you have complete stoppage of Wall Street capital coming into the financial world; you have consumers that dug their heels in and deleveraged.
Recently, Americans have signaled to the market that they’re feeling good again and going to start spending money. You’re starting to see the deleveraging period over. Consumer demand is returning in a very, very big way — millennials are going to get going here — and then at the same time you have lending that has a terrific barrier to entry. And so far in the last five years we positioned the company very well.
Q. Are you busy?
A. We are swamped. We are funding well over $2 billion of home loans a month nationwide in all 50 states.
We’ve grown 76 percent, top-line growth, since inception. For all of last year we funded about $13-, $14 billion.