Business: Acre Mortgage
Location: The Downtown Plaza, 325 E. Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township
Owners: John Merlino and Joe DiCriscio, both of Marlton
Branch manager: Frank Montufar, 58, of Absecon
Started: 2004; Absecon office opened 2010
Acre Mortgage’s main office is in Marlton and the company has offices in seven states. The company started in 2004 and has grown quickly. Both of the founders are loan officers at heart, who pooled their resources and started Acre.
This office has been open about two years now and was previously on South New York Road in Galloway in the Super Foodtown Shopping Center in Smithville. The recent move allowed us to expand. We see the benefits of growth in this market.
We do affordability financing, which is government- and state-backed first mortgages for homes.
That means we cater to first-time buyers with little money down. We do the VA 100 percent financing, 100 percent USDA financing, the FHA 3.5 percent down payment financing, and the N.J. Home Mortgage Finance Agency loans, which are also 100 percent financing.
We do conventional financing as well, but we focus on those programs. When the banks are looking to lend, we can’t compete. That’s why we focus on the affordable market. That we do well.
We have three times the space here and much better exposure.
We also do reverse mortgage programs for seniors. Our emphasis is on the non-vanilla type of programs.
Entry: I’ve been doing this for 29 years. I started in Residential Finance Corp., soliciting Atlantic County real estate brokers.
I got sick with multiple sclerosis and lost my ability to do outside sales, so I’ve been behind the desk for about 10 years.
I worked with Northern States Funding and then the opportunity to open an Acre Mortgage office came along.
Educating people is my biggest challenge, and processing and qualifying people these days also takes time. The market is still a little unsettled, but we’re better off than two years ago.
The future: I want to bring in some additional employees, some loan officers to help me spread the word. I have the room now.