The development is a far cry from January 5, 2021, when Guaranteed Rate announced the acquisition of Stearns with palpable enthusiasm for the future ahead. “The upcoming acquisition comes at a time of significant momentum for Guaranteed Rate, which recorded its best-ever production year in 2020,” the company said in a prepared statement. “The move builds on Guaranteed Rate’s track record of executing and integrating successful acquisitions and is directly related to its goal of becoming the county’s top lender.”
At the time, Guaranteed Rate promoted Stearns’ “strong presence” as a complement to its growth plans: “Guaranteed Rate’s experience and expertise in operating joint ventures and partnership platforms is further enhanced by Stearns Holdings’ strong presence in these channels,” wrote the enterprise. “Stearns Holdings has an extensive partnership model that includes real estate agent, developer and mover joint ventures, private label relationships and preferred partnerships with independent mortgage lenders. These partnerships include well-known brands SoFi and Home Mortgage Alliance. Combining these entities with Guaranteed Rate’s existing joint ventures with Realogy and @properties creates one of the largest platforms in the country. The acquisition also allows Guaranteed Rate to enter the wholesale channel to complement the company’s multichannel sales vision.”
Ciardelli had high hopes for the partnership with Stearns at the time: “We are very pleased to add Stearns Holdings to the guaranteed rate family,” he wrote when announcing the purchase. “Combining the incredible talent across the Stearns organization with that of our existing team exemplifies the best of the best in mortgage business and results in an even more powerful platform.”
The Guaranteed Rate Companies — which includes Guaranteed Rate Inc., Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC, and Proper Rate, LLC — have more than 9,000 employees in more than 750 offices across the United States, according to company literature. The Chicago-based company describes itself as “…one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the United States, financing over $73 billion in 2020.”
Founded in 2000, Guaranteed Rate is licensed in all 50 states and in Washington, DC. The company was named a Top Lender for Online Services and Best Mortgage Originator for Online Lending in 2018 by US News & World Report, and Best Mortgage Originator for Refinance by NerdWallet in 2021.