New Penn Financial is looking to bolster its growing mortgage lending business in the state by hiring up to 18 to 21 employees for its Dover, Newark and Wilmington offices. It also wants to expand into Sussex County.

New Penn Financial's mortgage lending business picked up in the last half of 2012 in its Dover, Newark and Wilmington offices and that progress has continued into the first quarter of 2013, Regional Director Timothy Paret said.

As such, Paret and his partner, Regional Director John Ghanayem, decided they needed reinforcements to keep up with demand. New Penn Financial is looking to hire up to 18 to 21 employees in Kent and New Castle counties, Paret said. New Penn, a nationwide lender based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., needs to hire six to seven people in each of his three offices in anticipation of a busy home buying season, Paret said.

New Penn Financial would also like to expand to Sussex County, Paret said. New Penn Financial already has one employee based in Rehoboth Beach, Paret said. But the firm is in conversations with a few people it is looking to hire to bolster its presence in the state's prime, beach resort market within the next six months.

New Penn Financial needs not just more loan officers to meet demands for loans, Paret said. The financial firm also needs more administrative personnel to assist with the work needed to deliver loans to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, he said. In addition, Paret's team in Dover manages the region and supports offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland – states also seeing real estate markets bouncing back, he said.

"There are a lot of people buying homes," Paret said. "The refinance market is still very strong. Interest rates are really low. And they've put in a lot of good programs to help people who couldn't traditionally refinance because of the value of their house or whatever. So, a strong buying market and refinancing have contributed to our need to hire," he said, echoing positive sales figures from the Kent County Association of Realtors.

In fact, some of Paret's customers have told him that the market has tightened up as more homes have been bought.

"There's certainly less inventory than there was a year ago," Paret said. "The buyers that we see today are good, quality buyers. They weathered the economic storm. They're people who have jobs and saved money. There's a lot more confidence. "

New Penn Financial has put an emphasis on growth in Delaware because of the strong market and the aggressive programs used by the Delaware State Housing Authority to help put people in homes, Paret said.

"It's a good market between New Castle County and the beach," Paret said. "There's a lot of business to be done. It's a priority for us."

Depending on the position, applicants will need to have a bachelor's degree or high school diploma and experience in marketing, financial services or administrative work, Paret said.

"New Penn has made a strong commitment to growing here in Delaware," Paret said. "We have a dedicated team of experts who work with local customers on refinancing options as well as first-time mortgage loans.

"Many customers prefer to work with us as opposed to a big bank. We offer more personalized service and have loan officers who guide customers through the entire process. Our Delaware management team is based here and we process loans here. That makes a big difference to the customer."