Amherst appoints COO of investment management

The Amherst Group has appointed Gillian Sutton Cho as chief operating officer of investment management, responsible for all investor-facing services and operations, and for growing assets under management for all Amherst strategies.

A vertically integrated, real estate investment, development and management fintech headquartered in Austin, Texas, Amherst and its affiliated funds have $7.5 billion of assets under management and $14 billion of assets under advisory, according to the company website. Over the past decade the firm acquired, renovated, and operated more than 30,000 homes in 30 markets across the U.S. 

Cho will lead Amherst’s continued efforts to introduce its turnkey, proprietary technology, real estate debt and equity investment strategies platform to a broader audience of global investors.  

“Amherst’s disruptive, technology-driven approach to acquiring, developing and managing real estate allows it to deliver a tremendous value proposition to our residents and much-needed quality housing across the United States,” said Cho. “The Amherst team is raising the bar of the real estate experience for residents and investors.” 

In her new role, Cho reportedly will focus on the firm’s goal to target growth opportunities driven by strong fundamentals and increasing consumer demand in the institutional single-family rental (SFR) sector, and to grow its commercial real estate lending and mortgage backed securities (MBS) businesses. 

Her appointment follows several executive-level additions at Amherst. 

Amherst’s business strategy is guided its mission to revolutionize the way real estate is priced, financed and managed, said Sean Dobson, chairman and CEO of Amherst, “We are excited to have Gillian join our team as we seek to further expand our suite of real estate investment products and services. Gillian’s understanding of the industry and what is needed to propel our business forward for long-term growth and success.”

Prior to joining Amherst, Cho was the COO of Crow Holdings, responsible for building the corporate infrastructure to facilitate growth, and engaged in business development and capital raising activities. 

Prior, she spent a decade in multifamily and mixed-use development in the Bay Area at Trammell Crow Residential and in New York at Extell Development Company. Cho started her career at Bain & Company advising clients on corporate strategy, organization and operations.

Gillian’s background in real estate development, operations and investment management will be instrumental to advancing Amherst’s data-driven capabilities, said Drew Flahive, president of Amherst Residential, and head of investment management. “She will play a key role in further evolving and delivering the full breadth of the Amherst group.”

EPM hires new CAO and SVP

Equity Prime Mortgage LLC (EPM) recently selected two NEXT alumnae and former NEXT speakers to join its executive team. Suha Zehl is the organization’s new chief analytics officer and Leora Ruzin, CMB, is senior vice president of wholesale operations. 

“Having an innovative leader, like Suha, join EPM speaks to the focus we have on building a modern platform. Suha is an award-winning business leader who will champion all of our digital growth and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the growing EPM family,” said Eddy Perez, president and CEO of EPM.

Zehl has more than 18 years of experience in the mortgage and real estate industry, and over 34 years experience in global business and analytics. Her focus is on developing data strategies to make the dream of home ownership a reality for everyone. Prior to joining EPM, she was EVP and CIO at Guidance Residential, where she led development of strategy, innovation, design and operation of all technology services and digital transformation. 

“Leora brings to EPM the type of leadership and expertise that will help build our wholesale channel into one of the best in our industry. We are excited to welcome her to the EPM family,” Perez said.

Ruzin has 14 years of multifaceted market expertise that includes closing, funding, secondary marketing, capital markets, rate risk analysis, investor relations, management, and software administration. Prior to joining EPM, her career included positions that include director of real estate lending at Valley First Credit Union, VP of secondary marketing at Guaranteed Rate, VP and director of mortgage product development at Flagstar Bank.

Founded in 2008 at the height of the mortgage crisis, the Atlanta, Georgia based mortgage lender operates 18 office locations and is licensed in 49 states.



MGIC names chief HR officer & adds board member

Annette M. Adams has joined MGIC Investment Corporation (MTG)to serve as senior vice president and chief human resources officer of MGIC. Adams will hold the same responsibilities with MTG’s principal subsidiary, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC).

“Having an engaged and motivated workforce is fundamental to the success and longevity that MGIC has enjoyed over the years. Annette is the right person to join our team to help continue that tradition,” said Tim Mattke, CEO of MTG and MGIC, which reported $238.9 billion of primary insurance in force covering approximately one million mortgages at September 30, 2020.

Adams brings “experiences and accomplishments in helping businesses build and foster engaged, inclusive, and high-performing workforces provide our company a tremendous opportunity to continue to advance MGIC as a destination for top talent and a great place to work,” he said.

Before joining MGIC, Adams was SVP of human resources – centers of expertise at of Kohl’s Inc., where she also held various management positions in human resources across the company. Prior to Kohl’s, Adams served in various leadership roles at Wisconsin Health Fund.

The company also announced its board of directors has elected Analisa M. Allen – an information technology consultant with the Gerson Lehrman Group – as a member of the audit and risk management committees.

“We welcome Analisa to the Board,” said Curt Culver, chairman of MTG.  “Her management and leadership experiences leading complex technology organizations, within the financial services industry, make her a natural fit and we look forward to her contributions.”

Previously, Allen served as chief information officer of data and analytics (2017 to 2019) and CIO of home lending technology (2015 to 2017) for the consumer bank at JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Allen also has held several leadership positions with Goldman Sachs & Co., where she served for 24 years. Among others, she was responsible for business planning and technical strategy, including as managing director, co-head of global operations technology (2008-2015) and managing director, global regulatory, risk and control head (2006-2013).

BayPort promotes CU veteran to mortgage VP

BayPort Credit Union of Newport News, Va.,has promoted Jennifer Little to VP of mortgage lending responsible for promoting responsible borrowing and special programs designed for first-time homebuyers and first responders. 

Little has served the $1.7 billion, member-owned, full-service financial institution for 18 years, leveraging multiple skills and expertise in mortgage lending, loan processing management, sales, training of loan officers and regulatory compliance. 

Previous positions at BayPort include mortgage department manager, supervisor, mortgage loan originator, processor, closer and servicer. Little also has served as member information specialist and relief specialist. 

Little holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a major in finance, from Old Dominion University.

In her new role, Little with particularly focus on introducing BayPort’s mortgage products, including loans and lines of credit that allow credit union members to borrow up to 100% of their home’s equity – to existing and potential clients across its footprint.

Founded in 1928, according to the company website, BayPort services more than 140,000 individuals and businesses via 24 branch locations in the Virginia Peninsula and Southside communities. 

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