Even as consolidation continues to sweep the mortgage industry, upstart independent companies are popping up to replace those that have fallen by the wayside.
One such company is Transland Financial Services. Bank of Winter Park, a small thrift in Orlando, recently sold Transland to two of its executives.
Transland, based in Maitland, Fla., originates loans only in Florida, but that will soon change. It is planning an aggressive expansion strategy.
Transland president Roger Conner, one of the new owners, said the company was looking first to expand into other states in the Southeast. He said moves into Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina could take place in October. He added that Transland could be doing business in Tennessee within six months.
In light of these expansion plans, why did Bank of Winter Park sell the unit, which it formed just a year ago?
Mr. Conner said that the bank wanted to expand its overall franchise. Since Transland grew very rapidly, the bank decided that the mortgage unit's growth could be better sustained by a new owner.
Joseph Regner, president of Bank of Winter Park, said the sale would enable it to open more branches in the Orlando area. He added that a mortgage division has been formed to replace Transland.
Half of Transland's business is residential construction loans that convert to regular mortgages. Mr. Conner said construction lending would continue to drive the company's growth.
Mr. Conner said that on an annualized basis, the company was originating $170 million, but that with the new ownership, the goal was $200 million.
Although Transland's expansion is now focused on the Southeast, Mr. Conner said the lender has the capital to expand nationally and is pursuing alliances with community banks.
"If a wonderful business opportunity presented itself to us in the Midwest, would we explore it? Certainly," he said.
Mr. Conner's partner in Transland is chairman William Armstrong, who represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate from 1979-91.
Mr. Armstrong is no stranger to the mortgage banking industry. He is chairman and part owner of Cherry Creek Mortgage in Denver and chairman of two other mortgage banking firms. Mr. Conner said that he and Mr. Armstrong have been friends for years, but Transland marks their first mortgage banking venture together.