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Homebridge Mortgage Bankers - Refinance.com - Agency, FHA

2009-01-21

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Note, 2014-01-31: Please note the following from the new HomeBridge Financial Services:

The following statements are NOT in reference to HomeBridge Financial Services, Inc. (www.homebridge.com, www.homebridgeinc.com) The Homebridge complaints below are regarding a completely different company that is no longer in existence; fully known as Homebridge Mortgage Bankers. Please visit us on the web to view our competitively priced product offerings and experience our exceptional customer service.

We began researching this company in earnest after noticing some buzz on the Discussion Forums in mid-December, and have since received numerous reports that Refinance.com (the site's gone - view archived) looks like it has gone out of business.

A weekly bulletin from New York's Banking Dept. indicates they surrendered their license in the state effective 2009-01-07. Refinance.com was a dba of Homebridge Mortgage Bankers Corp., which had several other dba's registered with the state including Hometrust Mortgage Bankers and Melrose Mortgage Bankers. When we attempted to call Homebridge, the answering service said "Thank you for calling Refinance.com. No one is available to take your call..."

Refinance.com averaged just over $42 million per month in 2007, about half the $81 million monthly volume originated in 2006. Expenses associated with ongoing litigation -- rather than diminished volume -- may have been tantamount to the company's closure however. Homebridge had been pursuing a case against a competitor and former branch manager since 2006-10-17 (view 2008-02-25 filing that summarizes "Agreed Findings of Fact"), and were sued by a former employee for alleged disability discrimination on 2008-10-20. In the former case, the legal firm representing Homebridge petitioned the court to be removed as counsel on 2008-12-30, citing Homebridge's "failure to pay" the firm's legal fees.

Problems making payroll prompted owner, CEO & Chairman Nick Bratsafolis and co-owner Jim Clooney to email employees on 2008-12-09 with the following:

"I would like to personally apologize for payroll not being met. We are working to square away this morning. As owners we have failed you and I apologize. Sometimes in life you hit the darkest days before you turn to the brightest days. Sorry again   Jim"
"I more than share Jims disappointment and your despair. I can truly assure each of you that I am committing all of my resources and efforts to rectify this situation. I do not plan on failing.   Nick"

A number of sources we spoke with said Bratsafolis had been looking for a buyer to pick up the company before it folded. Manta.com indicates an estimated 125 employees worked at the headquarters in Syosset, NY. A press release from 2008-08-12 indicated there were three branches, referring to an "overhaul" of the company's web site:

"Refinance.com has four offices in the US and accesses its customers primarily through the Internet, so 100% network reliability and systems availability are imperative to their business operations. In addition, Refinance.com is conducting an overhaul of its Web site to improve the range of resources available to current and potential customers, such as rate calculators and interactive chat.

Adeel Saeed, chief information officer at Refinance.com, added, "We are in the process of building a new Web site that will take our business to the next level.""

As always, please contact us if you can provide more details surrounding this company's shutdown.


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Comments:

rainmaker1 at 11:11 2009-01-22 said:
Here is how I heard it went from some former and current employees. The company was kicking some a**. I was considering working there, but the working atmosphere was like asweat shop and I have a strong referral base. They had a great sales platform. Definetly the best most talented people around. Their focus was units per body per week not per month. Most industry guys had the mentality of doing 1 loan a body and having 200 people. Their focus was having less sales bodies and supporting them with the resources to do more units. People did make great money there, the problem is when you get behind the eight ball with the lawsuits, with the backed up bills, spending insane amounts of money on "entertainment" and when the market changes like it did, you get into a cash flow problem and you start writing loans to pay the bills (compare ratio 300 and growing,) and when it gets that bad even a few cash infusions cannot get you above water because you rob peter to pay paul and eventually you are over your head. They had 3 offices Florida, NYC, and Syosset. First they closed Florida, then they closed their Syosset operation and moved them all to the city. At the end it got ugly especially around the holiday time, bounced checks, half truths, owners not addressing the staff because they themselves did not know what to do. They had everyone from past owners of Am Home, to past owners of BLue Stone, to the Racecar driver and LA, then to Mtg Source (LA same thing) and moving all their people out to the mtg source space, then now to being in Suffolk County at LA and becoming LA employees. Looks like LA is pulling all the strings behind the scenes. Hats off to the race car driver he makes the phones ring, ops is terrible, but he must be a hell of a chess player. Me personally, I always route for the underdog, who is going to step it up and compete. Have they eaten up so many companies and marketshare that this is now a monopoly on Long Island that even city and people from the boro's commute out to Melville because there is nowhere else to earn a living? Are things that bad? That is the question. Can anyone give the race car driver a run for his money? In this mini boom and in economic uncertainly, and competitors falling by the waste side, someone has to pop out of the woodwork. Too many has beens, same old faces, who did what to who and when. Is there anyone left? Who is it going to be? Anyone out there? Now is the time!!! Permalink
whatajoke2008 at 11:39 2009-01-22 said:
The company is a total joke and so are 90% of its employees. With the exception of a few loan officers (all of which left from what i hear) everyone there was overrated and way overpaid. They paid management twice as much as they were worth and these were the same people getting the company in trouble with the law. [deleted by Admin] At least they don't have to worry about paying loan officers this time. Permalink
valuation guy at 17:26 2009-01-22 said:
Rainmaker has it all - I have heard much of the same from my contacts at Refi.com/LA. Rainmaker talks about a competitor for LA and I have heard that some of the senior brass at Amer. Home Mtg. are back in the game and made a play for Refi. before the folded their tent. interesting to see if those folks resurface again.... Permalink
ladytron1999 at 21:35 2009-01-22 said:
after reading this i had to reply. I worked for them last year and they were a really good company. I really liked it there. I am so surprised that this happened as I thought if anyone, they would survive this. Except for this one bimbo, management was pretty solid. To my old friends there, I wish you guys the best of luck and hope you find jobs soon. Its never nice when someone implodes. Permalink
one time at 17:59 2009-01-23 said:
Hey Jim and Nick... If you are as sorry as you say you are, why don't you cut some checks from your ill gained checking accounts to pay your hardworking six days a week brow beaten employees?

Great week for America. A bold new president and refi.com out of business. Things are getting better already Permalink

one time at 18:10 2009-01-23 said:
Good owners always feed their employees before they go for seconds. Permalink
victor at 18:12 2009-01-27 said:
What an amazing read. There is a ton of scum in the mortgage industry.

What I do not understand is how are convicted felons operating in the mortgage business? Should not the New York State Banking Dept. and Florida State Banking Dept. be looking into the actions of these people? Enterprise corruption and securities fraud?

I wonder how many people they Madoff'd.

What exactly were they consulting on? I bet they are still operating in the mortgage business under another name or another shop. Permalink

fool for manangement at 12:12 2009-01-31 said:
THIS WAS A GREAT COMPANY! THE COMPANY FAILED BECAUSE OF ONE OWNER, JIM! HE WOULD ASK MANAGEMENT TO FIRE PEOPLE SAYING COMPANY NEEDED TO MAKE CUTS. THE HR DEPARTMENT IS THE WORST I HAVE EVER SEEN. I WATCHED THE HR DIRECTOR CALL EMPLOYEES INTO THE KITCHEN AND FIRE THEM, ALSO HEARD OF HER WALKING INTO FULL DEPARTMENTS AND GOING TO EACH DESK TWELLING THEM IF THEY HAD A JOB OR WERE LET GO. JIM SHOULD HAVE ALLOWED PAY TO GO OUT INSTAED OF TAKING THE L/OS TO TOPLESS BARS THE DAY AFTER A LARGE LAYOFF WAS DONE. THE REASON WHY NO ONE WOULD ASSIST US WAS DUE MAINLY TO THE MONEY JIM WOULD SPEND YEARLY. THE COMPANY WAS FALLING APART AND LAYOFFS WERE TREMENDOUS THAT HE WOULD CHOOSE INSTEAD OF SAVING MONEY SPEND IT ON TOPLESS BARS. BILLS FOR ONE NIGHT COULD EXCEED 50K I WAS TOLD. JIM WANTED TO KEEP L/OS HAPPY THINKING THIS WAS THE WAY, BUT COULD NOT MAKE PAYROLL. NOW THEY OWE EMPLOYEES 3-6 WEEKS SALARIES AND MANY MONTHS COMMISION, PROMISES WERE MADE TO US THAT SINCE NO LEADS WEREE COMMING IN WE WOULD BE PAID FOR ON AVERAGES. NEVER HAPPENED! BOTH JIM AND NICK CONTINUE TELLING EMPLOYEES THAT THEY ARE WORKING ON GETTING THEM THE MONEY, A WIRE IS COMING IN... LOL. THEY LOST RESPECT FROM EVERYONE IN THIS BUSINESS AND IF ANY WALL STREET FIRMS ARE SPEAKING TO THEM FIRST ASKED FOR THE FINANCIAL REPORTS. THESE WILL SHOW WHY NO ONE WANTS TO WORK WITH THEM AFTER SO MANY YEARS. THE FAULT FOR THE SHUT DOWN OF THIS COMPANY LIES DIRECTLY TO THE OWNERS. THEY NO HOW TO WASTE MONEY AND SEE NUDE WOMEN EVEN WHEN THEY ARE MARRIED. TODAY NICK AND JIM ARE AT LEND AMERICA WITH JOBS AND IGNORING E-MAILS, THE E-MAIL ADDRESS FOR THE IS FIRST INITIAL AND LAST NAME @ LEND AMERICA. MORTGAGE SOURCE TOLD THEM TO LEAVE AND MIKE ASHLEY IS LOOKING FOR THE WALL STREET FIRMS THAT PROVIDED HOMEBRIDGE WITH THE LEADS. AS I HAVE HEARD THEY LOST THE CONTACTS AND TRUST WITH THESE FIRMS, AND ASKING JEFF FEINERMAN TO HELP ON THIS.

THE REAL ISSUE HERE IS GETTING PRIOR AND PRESENT EMPLOYEES PAID WHAT IS DUE TO THEM. NICK OWNS MANY BUSINESSES AND JIM HAS A CONSULTING COMPANY GET THE MONEY OUT OF YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS AND PAY US.

DOWNFALL TO THIS COMAPNY WAS PUTTING ALL THEIR EGGS IN ONE BASKET, ONLY LEADS THEY HAD, WAS FROM THE WALL STREET FIRMS. THEY REFUSED TO BUY LEADS AND ALLOW L/O TO BUY FROM THEM.

IF YOU LOOK AT PERSICION MORTGAGE THEY ARE GETTING LEADS AND EVEN IF THE COMPANY CAN NOT AFFORD THEM, THEY ASK THE L/OS TO BUY THEM FROM COMPANY. HERE THE L/OS ARE DOING GOOD AND MAKING MONEY.

IF YOU KNOW HOW TO SELL YOU COULD WORK ANYWHERE. THERE ARE MANY JOBS OUT THERE FOR LOAN OFFICERS IN BOTH NYC AND LONG ISLAND.

[/b] Permalink

one time at 13:59 2009-02-02 said:
I worked there and those stories are basically true. I was lied to from day one. From my salary to how many days a week/hours I would work. They treated people like dogs. Every morning Jim's meathead managment staff would stand on a podium and tell everyone how bad they sucked. Great way to start the day. At around 11:00 we would be graced with Jim's presence. Everyone was scared of this guy. I wish I did not need the job at the time or I would've have told him how much of a SOB he was. Thanks to this forum I can. Jim u SOB! To those meatheads who treated people like garbage for Jim, you guy's deserve to be out of work and I hope you are.

I left the mortgage industry after my time there and in the end it worked out for me ten fold. I hope it's because I am a good person and a hard worker. Let's hope their fate will serve them accordingly. Seems like it's happening already. Permalink

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Important: This company is on our list of lending operations that have "imploded". However, please note that "imploded" is a somewhat subjective and does not necessarily mean operations are ceased permanently: it can mean bankruptcy filing, temporary but open-ended halting of major operations, or "firesale" acquisition. All information here is provisional, and may contain inaccuracies (especially newer information). If you are planning on doing business with this company or any other one listed on this site, you should inquire with them directly on whether they can still meet your needs. Many are still operating in some capacity.