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Stearns Wants to Lend Money, Not 'Sit On It'

Banks are where the money is, as Willie Sutton is credited with saying during the Great Depression. It's still true today, but during the current recession, they may not seem too fond of lending it.

That's not the case with direct lenders like Stearns Lending , a national lender which opened its Connecticut office in April. "We make money by lending money," said Joe Bacoulis. "It's our only business. We're definitely not looking to sit on money."

Describing Stearns as "the lender next door," Bacoulis, who has been a mortgage broker for a dozen years, said they've had a fantastic response as homebuyers seek to take advantage of mortgage rates that are at historic lows.

"We've worked with everyone from first-time buyers to seasoned real estate investors," he says. "We have a wide range of products that can fit most needs, and we treat everyone the way we would want to be treated."

That means great service, something that might be hard to get from a bank. "We have our regional service center in Rhode Island, and typically can get a mortgage done in 30 days, from application to closing," said Bacoulis.

With more than 20 years in the business, Stearns is a HUD-approved lender focusing primarily on residential real estate. Bacoulis and his team work to custom-fit a mortgage to the unique needs of the borrower and the property being purchased. "We offer a variety of loan types," he said. "FHA, USDA, VA, standard conventional loans, jumbos – we even have our own portfolio products."

In spite of the economy, demand has been steady, Bacoulis said. "Between the combination of low interest rates and reduced housing prices, it's definitely a buyer's market." Many homeowners not looking to move have also come in, seeking to refinance their existing mortgages to today's more favorable rates.

"We understand the mortgage process can be complicated and overwhelming, that's why we'll hold your hand through the process, if that's required," he continued. "At the end of the day it comes down to feeling comfortable with who you deal with. And with us, everything is built on a personal relationship."

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