Mercantile in Michigan expands its mortgage enterprise to Cincinnati

The Mercantile Bank Corp. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, rides the mortgage wave across the state line into Ohio.

The $ 4.4 billion mercantile announced in a press release Monday that it had opened a mortgage office in Cincinnati. Mercantile took the move after hiring a team of mortgage bankers, Scott Setlock, executive vice president of mortgage and consumer banking for the company, said in an email.

"While we believe the Cincinnati area is … a great market, our decision to open the new office was made by the talented mortgage professionals who will join our team," said Setlock.

Additional expansion is possible if Mercantile can hire more lenders, Setlock added.

"Our recruiting efforts continue," said Setlock. "Any future mortgage expansion will depend on our ability to attract talent that reflects our culture, our dedication to our clients and our general pursuit of excellence."

The Cincinnati office is the first outside Michigan location for the 23-year-old Mercantile. The opening comes two weeks after CEO Robert Kaminski said the mortgage team "threw the cover off the ball" during the company's quarterly earnings call.

For the first nine months of 2020, Mercantile reported $ 19.7 million in mortgage lending income tied to origination of $ 646 million. For the same period in 2019, mortgage lending revenues were $ 5.3 million.

Mercantile has been running a mortgage company since October 2000, but the division wasn't treated as a strategic initiative until 2015, Setlock said.

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts mortgage origins of nearly $ 2.5 trillion in 2021. While this estimate is below the $ 3.2 trillion forecast for 2020, it would still be the second largest sum in the past 15 years. Purchase origins are expected to hit a record $ 1.54 trillion in 2021.

Mercantile plans to take out mortgages for purchases, refinances, and home loans from its Cincinnati office. The company "is excited to join our team as we enter this market as we strategically expand our mortgage lending business," said Ray Reitsma, President of Mercantile Bank, in Monday's press release.

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