Photo by Dave Flessner / The new Planet Home Lending office in St. Elmo is licensed to provide home loans in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Planet Home Lending, LLC, a national mortgage lender and servicer headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut, is expanding into Chattanooga with a new lending office in St. Elmo headed by veteran mortgage lender John Williams.

Williams, a former owner of American Acceptance Mortgage in Chattanooga who most recently worked with Southwest Funding, has been in the business since 1994 and opened a new branch of Planet Home Lending at 5613 Tennessee Ave., Suite 211. Williams is aided by Brandy Teague, a processor at the new office, which is the second Tennessee branch for Planet Home Lending since the company opened its first office in the state last year in Nashville.

Planet Home Lending has serviced more than $32.7 billion in loans since the privately held firm was started in 2007 and currently operates about 35 offices across the country and handles both new and refinancing of government-backed and conventional mortgages.

Unlike most third-party mortgage lenders, Planet Home Lending services most of its mortgages and does its own underwriting to speed the loan approval process.

"Once you close with us, you stay with us," Williams said. "That often gives us an advantage in the interest rates we can offer as well."

The new office is licensed to handle mortgages in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Because many Chattanoogans also have properties on the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast, the new branch will also tailor its services to borrowers purchasing second homes and condos, Williams said. The Chattanooga branch is able to prequalify consumers for a home loan, which shows home sellers the purchaser can afford to buy the property.

"Planet Home Lending is a great fit for the Chattanooga community because we offer personalized loan choices instead of a one-size-fits-all approach," said Michael Dubeck, president and CEO of Planet Financial Group, LLC. "This branch is especially helpful for homebuyers and homeowners who want to take advantage of today's historically low interest rates."

Williams and Teague said they will focus on serving FHA, VA and USDA borrowers in the tri-state area, including those who need down payment and closing cost assistance. Planet Home Lending offers Tennessee Housing Development Authority, USA 100%, and Tennessee and Georgia down payment programs.

"Joining a national company, such as Planet Home Lending, allows us to offer loans and properly serve the Chattanooga community with unique solutions to help people reach their financial goals," Williams said.

Planet Home Lending also offers FHA 203(k) loans to purchase a home and update it with a single mortgage.

No matter which home loan borrowers choose, Williams said consumers will benefit from the company's online digital mortgage assistant, used to apply and submit documents via connected devices, like cell phones. Planet Home Lending is also piloting eClosing and remote online notary tools, which let borrowers close their mortgage from the comfort of their home instead of in person at a title company.

"This added flexibility will deliver an outstanding, safer customer experience to our borrowers," Williams said.

Contact Dave Flessner at or at 757-6340