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HOUSTON-In a “one for all and all for one” strategy, Strategic Alliance Mortgage LLC is pushing a plan to powerbroker its way to shave costs and develop state-of-the-art information tools while member shopping in new markets.

The five-year-old organization, better known as SAM, is owned by 16 member companies with 110 production officers in 35 offices stretching from coast to coast and border to border. Their aggregate deal-making equals that of a large corporation: $4.3 billion in capital markets transactions last year and more than $2.5 billion closed by midyear 2003. The combined servicing portfolio exceeds $12 billion of commercial mortgages. And that, says John T. Fenoglio, principal of Houston-based Live Oak Ltd., is the basis for the groundswell to go to market as a powerbroker for day-to-day operations.

Negotiations have just begun for a combined insurance plan for across-the-board coverage–professional liability, health, blanket bond and fidelity insurance. Talks also are under way with several companies for a servicing platform. A decision, Fenoglio tells GlobeSt.com, should be in hand in 90 days. In 30 days, the final decision for customized and proprietary software will be made to upgrade the investor database and link members to a state-of-the-art, real-time tool that packages all vital industry stats on one screen. “It will make all of our member companies capital markets experts,” Fenoglio says, noting the obvious benefit will be even higher production levels.

Meanwhile, SAM is putting out the word that it wants to add members in Dallas, Washington, DC, Denver, Phoenix and round up more Southeastern US players. The rules of the game limit geographical areas, metros and tertiary, to one SAM member, who must garner at-large approval before being added to the roster. The newest member is Draper & Kramer in Chicago.

SAM provides tools to compete with the major leaguers, but members retain autonomy when it comes to their corporate identities and business dealings. “It represents a new model in the mortgage banking industry,” Fenoglio explains. “You have all the benefits of a large company, but you still run your own show.” The upshot is “it’s an attractive alternative” to consolidations and buyouts, he stresses.

Each year, SAM rotates its three-member executive committee. This year, Dan Phelan of Pacific Southwest Realty Services in San Diego is the chairman, with Henry Schwendiman of Bonneville Mortgage in Salt Lake City and Fenoglio sharing the executive board duties. Susan De Mars of Sacramento is the executive assistant.

With a 2003 agenda built on initiatives, SAM members are training on Webex, an online conferencing tool designed for monthly shop talks likely to bring inside banter that could help make the close. Despite his reputation in the industry, Fenoglio will be tuned in to learn from his peers, just like everyone else. “No one can ever rest on their laurels,” he says. “The search for excellence is always ensuing. No one has a lock on knowledge.

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