Magazine article American Banker

As Other Subprimes Turn Tail, Start-Up Aims to Be Top Dog

Magazine article American Banker

As Other Subprimes Turn Tail, Start-Up Aims to Be Top Dog

Article excerpt

As others fled the crumbling subprime business, a former Finet chief operating officer saw opportunity.

Wayne S. Repich recently started Vanguard Acceptance Corp., a subprime wholesale mortgage bank in Carlsbad, Calif., that takes a less-than-somber approach to the business.

Mr. Repich, armed with the title of chief executive orchestrator, said Vanguard's timing, its focus on a small segment of borrowers-and its offbeat marketing approach-would separate it from the pack.

Mr. Repich said Vanguard's strategy for avoiding the fate that has befallen many other subprime lenders is a focus on a small but select client base.

"You can have 10 accounts rather than 50, but those 10 have to be good," Mr. Repich said. "You can't be walking in there acting desperate or acting like there is a crisis all the time. Your attitude has to be one of confidence and one of calmness" in an industry that is not known for those qualities.

"I used to get looks of astonishment from people who were just laughing when I wanted to start a subprime business," Mr. Repich said. "I said, 'You guys are missing the boat, this is a perfect time.' The market turned ugly and lenders were starting to go under, and the ones that did not go bankrupt suffered severe impacts."

Mr. Repich said that cutbacks in commissions, underwriting, and marketing dollars created a window for entry into the business as a new player.

"You could not have asked for a better thing to have happened. It was a perfect time to go in," Mr. …

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