Axia Home Loans – Corporate Office, Bellevue Washington State

May 26, 2023
Axia Home Loans - Corporate Office, Bellevue Washington State

Axia Home Loans

achieving the American Dream one loan at a time


With a meteoric rise and a base of employees that share ownership of the company, Axia Home Loans leads the lending pack

It has been a somewhat unpredictable year for those in the housing and mortgage sector. Macroeconomic factors have converged leading to repeated rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, a continued housing shortage across the board, and slowdowns in the supply chain.

The ripple-down effect has caused a slight cooling in the red-hot housing market and produced short-term hiccups for new construction projects and a trickle-down effect to anxious buyers looking to get into their new homes. To say that a single year can change things dramatically is an understatement.

Just a year ago, rates sat at historically low levels and houses were flying off the market as soon as they were listed. Multiple offers on single properties, often at numbers well above the asking price were the norm.


Axia Home Loans - Corporate Office, Bellevue Washington State

Alex Rosenblum, CEO

For Alex Rosenblum, CEO of Axia Home Loans, the market fluctuations over the last year coupled with the increasing rate environment can be viewed as a natural and inevitable leveling off of an extremely overheated market that would in time be unsustainable.

After all, the housing market is cyclical not unlike other sectors. The fact remains that real estate, in Rosenblum’s view and among his mortgage peers, has always been, and will remain a wise investment, even in times of market volatility.

For Axia Home Loans with Rosenblum at the helm, mortgage origination success has come easily and at a dizzying speed. Established in 2007 and despite an economic downturn in 2008, along with the unknowns of a global pandemic, the path to its current position as a top 100 independent Mortgage bank has been a seamless one.

With a wide range of mortgage options available and locations throughout the Western and Southwestern US and as far-reaching as Florida, Axia Home Loans has established itself as a major player in the competitive mortgage playing field.

“We lend across 46 states and have 150 loan officers,” Rosenblum states.

“In addition to our retail footprint, we also have a wholesale channel under the name Unified Reliance Wholesale, based in Southern California as well, where we service our broker partners.

“In terms of volume, we originate between a billion and a half and 3 billion a year in loans,” he continues. “That equates to about 4,000 to 8,000 units a year.”

Although cognizant of the changing housing market conditions, Rosenblum has focused more on what Axia Home Loans can do to increase productivity and ride out the bumpy higher interest rate waters.

“One thing we can do is provide our loan originators tools and tips and strategies to expand the referral networks with real estate brokers and we have expanded our product offering quite a bit,” he explains.

“We have introduced dozens of new products over the last six to nine months to offer borrowers a better fit for their unique needs or individual needs for loans,” Rosenblum adds.

One such product offering Rosenblum highlights is the introduction of products that allow people to buy down their rates temporarily.

“In this market, for example, when it’s a little bit more of a buyer’s market than a seller’s market, a seller can offer to buy down the buyers rate for a year or two years which is cheaper than it would have been to lower the price of the house to equal the same payment for those couple of years.”

Axia Home Loans - Corporate Office, Bellevue Washington State

In this rate environment, Rosenblum illustrates it is “better to marry the house, but to date the rate.”

He explains that Axia Home Loans offer other mortgage solutions including bridge loans that allow borrowers more time to sell their departing residence while purchasing a new home.

“The silver lining with this current environment is that there is less competition out there when you are bidding for a home,” Rosenblum offers.

With innovative products, a large network of well-trained loan originators, and performing in the top tiers of the mortgage sphere, Rosenblum reflects on what are the keys to Axia’s success.

“It relays to our customer-centric environment,” he says. “We work hard to make our platform as competitive as possible for loan originators.”

“We rely on our loan originators to develop their referral networks to bring the business and we work hard to make sure they have the best tech platform, the best fulfillment from a loan manufacturing perspective, the best level of service so they can flow that through to their referral network and their borrowers,” he elaborates.

Other tech tools have led to successful mortgage outcomes for Axia including their popular mobile app. “If you are a borrower, you can pretty much run the entire process through your phone at this stage if you want to, and tools like this help.”

Rosenblum also highlights Axia’s responsible management of liquidity and its finances as well as balanced stakeholder management which he terms “balance sheet sustainability.”

Perhaps most importantly, how Axia Loans has chosen to pivot its business model has enabled it to stand out from its competitors and has helped the company enjoy continued success. In 2016, Axia chose to adopt the ESOP model which is a form of a retirement model, enabling employees to be partial owners of the company and have a direct retirement stake in the company as well as often benefit from yearly bonuses based on shared revenue.

The ESOP model is taking off across the US, however, Axia was the first 100% employee-owned mortgage company.

“We went straight to the 100% ESOP setup and set up a note for the shareholders. They swapped their equity for debt, and we have since paid off that note,” Rosenblum outlines.

“The note was originally supposed to be a nine-year term, but we had a big boom year in 2020 and 2021 and we paid it off in five years.”

“We are now 100% debt-free and 100% employee-owned. Over the last six years, we have created an enormous amount of equity for our employees and as of the last stock price the average value for our employees was around $50,000 but ranged up to $250,000.

Rosenblum outlines that the ESOP model creates a meaningful financial benefit to the employees that work so hard to make the company profitable. “It is a win-win.”

“My shareholder is my employee and their incentives are aligned with mine. There develops a little bit of that ownership mentality. It creates a more collaborative environment because their success is the corporate’s success which creates a winning environment,” he describes.

Another clear advantage to the ESOP model for Rosenblum is that it tends to lead to lower turnover rates which in turn helps bolster productivity.

When asked about what advice he would give a company toying with the idea of moving to an ESOP model Rosenblum answers without hesitation.

“My one piece of advice would be to take it in phases. In hindsight, I probably would have taken it in steps.”

“One of the biggest challenges was trying to educate our employees on what the ESOP model meant to them,” Rosenblum continued.

“Not just financially and technically, but also how to flow through into the culture. It certainly took a few years and you need to pay a lot of attention to the ‘upfront’ before you go through the ESOP process- understand the framework, how it works and understand the trust aspect to it as well,” he concluded.

What does Axia’s future look like? For Rosenblum it is simple.

“We are focusing on market share expansion,” he states.

“We are fortunate as an ESOP, to have a strong balance sheet and we are sitting on more liquidity and assets than a bank of our size normally would. This allows us to lean into that and acquire market share,” he concludes.

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Axia Home Loans

What: Leading independent Mortgage originator under the ESOP model with over 150 loan originators across 46 states

Where:  Corporate Office, Bellevue Washington State



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