By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation will expand its reverse mortgage processing operation in Marshfield, opening a new office and adding 30 more jobs to the local market.
“Fairway is one of the top 10 mortgage companies in the country,” explained Fairway National Reverse Mortgage Director Harlan Accola. “That most people don’t know about because it is privately held.
“Fairway does about $2 billion a month in regular mortgages. What we do is a very small part of that in the reverse mortgage industry, which is a FHA mortgage, which is designed specifically for seniors over 62.
“Because reverse mortgage is such a unique program, they run everything through one location, and because we had experience when we came on with Fairway, they decided to do it here and expand here, so all of the reverse mortgages that are processed will all come into (Marshfield.)”
Fairway currently has a staff of 20 individuals dedicated the implementation of reverse mortgages but will add 30 new positions as it expands into new facilities at 301 S. Central Ave.
The mortgage company has purchased what was once known as the Thiel Building on the corner of East Third Street and South Central Avenue. The building was first used as a meat shop but has been home to several retail stores, a barber shop, a hotel, a saloon, and more recently All-Vac.
In 1916 the second floor was remodeled for the newly formed Marshfield Clinic. The clinic operated out of the building until 1926 when it moved to its 620 S. Central Ave. location.
Since the clinic’s departure, the front area of the second floor has remained opened and untouched.
“The first thing we have to do is take care of some of the demolition work,” said Accola. “We are completely redoing the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, the electrical, the flooring. Basically everything will be redone to fit.
“We will be able to put 50 to 60 people on this main floor, and then probably within a couple of years, depending upon how the growth goes for Fairway, then we will also remodel the upstairs.
“(Reverse mortgages) are really a financial planning tool. … Fairway Mortgage is really preparing for this because there are 10,000 people a day that are turning 62 for the next 20 years. Baby boomers have affected every single socioeconomic scenario for years.
“As we are going through and all getting older, there is very little preparation. It’s not like the past where everybody had pension and Social Security and they were kind of living carefully. Now you’ve got people that are not really prepared for retirement, and on top of it they are living longer.
“People are just not prepared for it, and when you’ve got the reverse mortgage, it is kind of part of the tool just like an IRA or a 401(k) or annuity. It is just a retirement tool.”
Fairway plans to move into its new facilities in January 2017.
“We are going to be doing a major hiring push right before that because we are going to want a lot of new people so that we are ready to move in here and the people are trained,” said Accola.
If interested in learning more about the company, contact Kari VanKleef at 715-389-8800.