Our Team

Our Team

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HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers is a residential mortgage lender headquartered in Irvine, CA.  We originate, underwrite and fund residential mortgages in house.  What truly separates us from our competition is our people.  Our team is comprised of highly- motivated, top-tier mortgage and financial services professionals—all of whom are passionate about serving our clients.

Founders

Alexander Kim: Mr. Alexander Kim Founder/CEO is a God loving family man, an American patriot and advocate of small business and real estate ownership. His entrepreneurial spirit was put into practice during his early childhood years (since 7 years old) helping out at his parents’ beauty supply business in Baltimore City, Maryland. Alex served as an active duty military member during his attendance at the United States Coast Guard Academy, where his leadership training led to mastering his “Sail Ship” mentality. He was later recruited into the real estate industry in 2003. During his tenure in the mortgage, credit consulting and real estate business he was able to assemble a team of leaders who later founded HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers.

With an emphasis on teamwork, communication, and integrity, Mr. Kim serves his team with the highest level of care. He believes that, “If I can do it, then anyone can and if I don’t do it, nobody will”.

HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers - Team

Denise Nguyen: Denise is the Founder/President of HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers and serves as Head of Operations and Senior Underwriter.  With nearly 20 years of experience underwriting conventional, government and portfolio products, she has been instrumental in developing HomeFirst’s operations staff into an exceptionally knowledgeable and skillful team.  She has previously held senior underwriting positions at Bank of America, HSBC, IndyMac, Countrywide, and Land Home Financial among others.

“First in Service”

The Team

jeff blaxland

Jeff Blaxland
CPO/CMO
Jeff is one of the west coast’s top Loan Originators. He offers the best possible rates for Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo, Down-Payment Assistance and many other products. Jeff loves to spend time with his wife, twin daughters and son, grilling, volunteering, playing with his kids, practicing jiu-jitsu and watching the Lakers and Dodgers with his family.

Daren Nam

Daren Nam
COO
Daren is the Chief Operations Officer at HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers, where he oversees the operations of the company and establishes polices that promote company culture and vision. In his spare time, Daren enjoys spending time with his family doing outdoor activities such as Fishing, Camping and Hiking.

hanh nguyen

Hanh Nguyen
CRO
Hanh brings 18 years of mortgage industry knowledge to her role at HomeFirst. She believes the life lessons learned as a child from her parents have shaped her into the person she is today both personally and professionally. She works diligently to empower the team with knowledge so they can thrive and be more effective workers.

emmie tran

Emmie Tran
CUO
Emmie is the Chief Underwriting Officer here at HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers. She’s been in the mortgage industry over 10 years and loves coming to work every day knowing that she gets the chance to help her clients attain their goals of home ownership. When not working, Emmie loves to cook, travel and spend time with family.

Edmond Han - CIO

Edmond Han
CIO

jimmy le

Jimmy Le
CTO
Jimmy is very ambitious and ultimately the jack of all trades around the office and plays a very pivotal role with the company. Jimmy loves to play basketball and run when time permits. He’s currently engaged and loves to travel throughout the world with his better half, Emmie.

Richard Hong

Richard Hong
CFO
Richard has been in the mortgage industry since 2013 with the bulk of his experience being in the accounting department and secondary marketing department. In his free time, Richard enjoys the simple pleasures of life.

Judy Sayavong

Judy Sayavong
Documents MGR
Judy joined the Homefirst Mortgage Bankers team in 2015. Her current position is a Doc Drawer in the Closing Department. She continues to learn daily and is proud to be in an industry that helps others achieve their dreams of owning a home. Judy loves to spend time with her family and traveling.

veronica cruz

Veronica Cruz
Funding MGR
Veronica has been in the mortgage industry for over 18 years. She enjoys coming to work every day because she loves where she works and loves what she does. Veronica enjoys traveling, fine dining, and spending time with family.

chau tran

Chau Tran
QC MGR
Chua was in the fashion industry prior to joining the HomeFirst team in June of 2019. She did not want just another job but rather a long-term career and has found that at HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers. Three things that Chua loves are coffee, spicy food, and Netflix.

 

minh nguyen

Minh Nguyen 
JR UW II
Minh is a Junior Underwriter for HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers and has been in the mortgage industy since 2012. He is very greatful for the team he gets to work with and is still passionate about is work. He enjoys working out, playing music, traveling, and spending quality time with his wife & thier dog Nemo.

Thanh Dang - JR UW II

Thanh Dang
JR UW II
Thanh began her career in the Mortgage industry with HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers in 2014. She was able to learn the industry quickly through hard work and the support from her team. Thanh really enjoys eating, working out, camping, bowling, concerts, and spending quality time with important people in her life. Thanh’s goal in life is to work remotely traveling the States in a van.

caroline nguyen

Caroline Nguyen
H1 Support MGR
Caroline is a Production Assistant/Junior Processor for HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers. She spends her time off at home with her fiancé and daughter. Caroline also loves art and does calligraphy for wedding signatures, baby showers, and more!

steve knipping

Steven Knipping
HR DIRECTOR
Steve is the Director of Human Resources as well as a Senior Loan Officer. His goal is to bring talented loan officers and teams on-board as smoothly and efficiently as possible. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, reading and following his favorite LA area sports teams.

HomeFirst Mortgage Bankers - Team

Steve Gribben
GEN. COUNSEL
Steve is one of HomeFirst’s three original founders and currently serves as an advisor to the firm. He brings to HomeFirst a unique perspective on secondary markets and new product development, which is drawn from his time working in executive management in the securities industry and as an attorney for various real estate and financial services companies. Steve received his B.A. from USC and his J.D. from UCLA. His is also a real estate broker and holds multiple securities licenses.