EverBank Financial in Jacksonville, Fla., (EVER) announced Monday it is opening a commercial real estate lending office in Houston.

The $18.3 billion-asset bank said the new office will serve the south-central region, including correspondent lending relationships in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. It is part of the EverBank unit that makes CRE loans of $10 million and below nationwide.

Rick Clark has been hired as the regional sales director in Houston. He will focus on originations collateralized by multitenant and certain other leased commercial properties. Previously Clark was senior vice president of commercial lending with Integrity Bank SSB in Houston.

"Houston is an extraordinarily dynamic and growing commercial real estate market, and we're looking forward to serving our clients throughout the region through our new office," said John Randall, managing director of EverBank's small-balance commercial real estate program.

EverBank has been expanding its specialty-lending businesses in the past year. In October it bought a commercial lending unit from GE Capital and hired a former U.S. Bancorp (USB) sales manager to manage its healthcare finance unit. EverBank also established a golf lending division and launched a wealth management unit last year.

A unit of EverBank sold more than $300 million in mortgage-backed securities in April.

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