3 FMHS grads build expanding mortgage business

Major Mortgage owners CFO Ryar Hayward, left, and CEO Tor Hayward, right, with Mortgage Banker Kyle Barnard.

Major Mortgage has grown quickly since it was established in Grand Junction five years ago, so quickly that the business run by the home-grown Hayward brothers has absorbed two Grand Valley competitors in recent months.

The three Fruita Monument High School graduates, who were too busy building a business to go to college, now run Major Mortgage, employing 130 people in seven offices in three states.

Tor Hayward, 36, joined the company, then based in Cheyenne, Wyo., first.

Then Ryar Hayward, 31, did the same.

Mortgage lending runs in the Hayward blood, Ryar said, adding, “I was processing loans in high school” before graduating from Fruita Monument and jumping full-time into the business.

Brant Hayward, 35, heads the company office in Riverdale, Utah. Since taking the reins there, he obtained a bachelor of science degree from Arizona State University.

The Haywards did well with Major Mortgage, so well that they bought the company in 2005 and moved it to Grand Junction, where it is headquartered at 2474 Patterson Road.

Since then, when Major Mortgage had fewer than 20 employees, the Haywards have tended to the company, helping it reach markets in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.

While they’re not actively looking for new markets in which to expand, they’re not averse to opportunities, should they arise, Tor said.

In the meantime, Major Mortgage grew most recently within, when it hired away the head of a competing office and brought on most of his staff, as well.

“After about the fifth or sixth loan I lost to Tor, I decided if I can’t beat him, I’ll join him” said Kyle Barnard, who has previously owned his own mortgage company and most recently headed LeaderOne Financial, which has an office at 2478 Patterson Road, in the same block as Major Mortgage.

Late last year, Jim Smith of Reliance Mortgage joined Major Mortgage.

LeaderOne and Reliance both left the market when their offices moved over to Major Mortgage.

Major Mortgage’s business model of maintaining all of its services in-house meant it could act more quickly than could a mortgage company dependent on other organizations to pick up various parts of the mortgage-lending process, from qualifying borrowers to setting up closings without the inconvenience, and sometimes downright disappointment, from a phone call.

“I didn’t have the internal capabilities that Major Mortgage can provide,” Barnard said. “It’s the only one-stop shop in town” and gives credence to the company’s motto of being the “Home of the 10-day close.”

When Tor agreed to bring Barnard aboard, he also offered to allow Barnard to bring along his staff, and four of Barnard’s five employees joined him at Major Mortgage.

After five years as a major player in the market, Tor Hayward said, Major Mortgage closed loans worth “just short of a quarter-billion” dollars in 2009, a slow year for real estate by all accounts.

This year, Major Mortgage is the title sponsor for Country Jam and is preparing for new competition as out-of-area mortgage companies are trying to get a foothold in the market, Tor said.

“They’re trying to get in,” he said, “and we’re already rolling.”


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