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Published in Finance

Mercantile Bank expands outside of Michigan with Cincinnati mortgage lending office

BY Tuesday, November 03, 2020 10:00am

Mercantile Bank’s move into Ohio with the opening of a Cincinnati mortgage lending office will allow the Grand Rapids-based bank to “put a flag down there,” bank officials say.

“The opportunity presented itself and we certainly felt like we were in a position that we could listen to that opportunity,” said Scott Setlock, Mercantile Bank’s senior vice president for mortgage and consumer lending. “The decision was really driven by the right group of people to allow us to go down there.”

Scott Setlock, Mercantile Bank’s senior vice president for mortgage and consumer lending COURTESY PHOTO

Mercantile’s connection with a lending team in the Cincinnati market came as Mercantile had spent more than five years growing its residential mortgage operations and was looking to expand.

Mercantile and the Cincinnati lending office “struck up a conversation,” Setlock said. After a “courting period,” Mercantile saw a good cultural fit and hired six employees for the Cincinnati lending office, including three mortgage lenders, Setlock said.

Mercantile’s move into the Cincinnati mortgage market is the first time the Grand Rapids-based bank has operated any office outside of Michigan. The move comes as the bank has enjoyed strong growth in its mortgage business this year, driven in part by low interest rates that have led many people to refinance.

Mortgage loan originations in the third quarter grew 79 percent from a year earlier and about 150 percent through the first nine months of 2020, Setlock said. The bank closed $237.1 million in mortgage loans during the quarter and $645.5 million through the first three quarters, according to its recent quarterly earnings report.

Mercantile Bank is not looking to open additional mortgage lending offices, although “we are still recruiting and certainly open to talking to lending talent, and will see where that takes us,” Setlock said.

“If the right opportunity comes along, we’ll certainly be talking and see if it’s the right fit for us,” he said.

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