From Retail to Wholesale: Starting and Leading a Mortgage Company – (With Jason Cecco) – Episode 101

Posted February 1, 2022

Jason Cecco, the President of Lending Heights, LLC, didn’t go to school for finance. After graduating with a degree in Engineering from Penn State University, Jason’s cousin Joe Cecco introduced him to the world of brokerage. Jason began working at ELends Call Center in the early 2010s, where he focused on FHA streamlines and made $500 per loan. In 2015, after moving around to small correspondents in northern New Jersey, he and his wife opened their brokerage in Pittsburgh after realizing the retail mortgage industry lacked transparency. The entrepreneur recalls sitting on milk crates to work out the business and teach her how to process loans. 

He had to learn which party sent disclosures since the retail lender handled everything, including Good Faith and Loan Estimates, as well as lender-paid versus borrower-paid fees. “There’s so much support with the wholesale lenders,” says Jason. “Coming in and not knowing anything, there are so many resources and support.” He quickly learned that the broker channel has more control than the retail channel. 

It was time to stop originating and start leading in August 2018. The business grew to 26 employees, including 14 Loan Officers. All of them are licensed by NMLS, and they each specialize in their specific fields, which allows them to focus on their strengths. 

Jason’s production levels for 2021 reached $200 million and 850 units. Most of his leads came from online. What sets you apart is getting the right service, culture, and execution, and a solid foundation and core are necessary to succeed. In addition, implementing the right tools, systems including an LOS, and tech stack will put you ahead. 


  • 1:10: Intro
  • 9:00: Shifting from Retail to Wholesale Mortgage
  • 11:15: Small Business Challenges
  • 22:00: Conquering the Broker Channel
  • 25:00: Creating Team Culture
  • 30:00: Structuring Small Business Leadership
  • 44:00: Back to Basics

This episode is sponsored by EPM

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