Jumbo loans at heart of mortgage expansion for Customers Bancorp

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The makeover at Customers Bancorp continued Monday as the Wyomissing, Pa., company said that it would expand its mortgage division and specialize in jumbo loans aimed at its commercial clients.

Customers expects to spin off its BankMobile digital arm this summer and has been hiring lenders to boost its core business-banking operation in preparation for the spinoff. The $10.8 billion-asset company has recruited people from Associated Bank, Bank of America, Signature Bank and Sterling National Bank.

That hiring spree has carried over to mortgages. Lorie Shannon, who joined Customers in January from SunTrust Banks to lead its residential mortgage division, has hired six employees to bring the division's total to 35.

Shannon is responsible for expanding the mortgage offerings through jumbo nonqualified mortgages marketed to business clients, said Richard Ehst, president and chief operating officer for the company and its bank unit.

"Customers Bank is a business bank, so how do we accommodate the owners and proprietors of our business clientele with a mortgage product?" Ehst said in a phone interview. "We developed this program to enhance the ability of owners to get mortgages when they need them."

Ehst added that the program has an accelerated approval process of three weeks. Customers operates in several expensive housing markets such as the District of Columbia, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Customers, which had a basic mortgage platform before hiring Shannon, will offer jumbo non-QM loan amounts up to $10 million, including for properties such as condominiums that fall outside of the traditional qualified market, the company said in a news release announcing the mortgage expansion.

“A rise in home prices, combined with changing guidelines for nonconforming programs, makes this an ideal time for Customers Bank to expand its residential offering," Ehst said in the release.

Shannon said in the release that "exemplary" customer service will be a top priority.

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