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Better taps Chad Smith as new president and COO

Holding company Better Home & Finance hired Chad Smith to be the president and chief operating officer of its mortgage business, it announced on Friday. Kevin Ryan, who previously held the position of president, will continue serving the company as chief financial officer. 

Before joining Better, industry veteran Smith was the CEO of Mission Loans from December 2020 to May 2024. As of Friday, the online lender had 43 sponsored loan officers and eight active branches, per the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS). Meanwhile, Better had 227 sponsored LOs and seven branches, the NMLS shows.

Prior to Mission, Smith held the position of executive vice president for consumer direct and portfolio retention at Caliber Home Loans, a mortgage lender acquired by Newrez in 2021. 

Better’s board of directors appointed Smith on May 8. According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the executive will receive an annual base salary of $1 million, a minimum performance bonus of $500,000 for the first year of employment, and an annual target bonus opportunity equal to 100% of his base salary. 

Smith will also be granted stock units. Better stock closed at $0.43 on Friday, up 3.37% from the previous day. The company went public in August 2023 via a partnership with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Aurora Acquisition Corp, ending a two-year journey. 

The deal unlocked $565 million of fresh capital for a company that has narrowed its losses. Better posted a GAAP net loss of $59.5 million in fourth-quarter 2023, down from a loss of $339.4 million in the previous quarter. In Q4 2023, Better generated a funded volume of $527 million across 1,633 loans.

Founder Vishal Garg told HousingWire in February that the company was hiring loan officers, processors and underwriters, and more recently, changing its compensation structure.

“The loan officers we’ve been hiring are industry experts that we’ve been bringing onto our platform, rather than the traditional noncommissioned loan officers that we used to hire in the past and who used to be usually people who had never worked in the industry,” Garg said. 

In April, a former top executive voluntarily dismissed with prejudice a lawsuit filed about two years ago against the company and some of its leaders, including claims that they violated labor and securities laws. 

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