There's discontent at Huntington Mortgage Co. amid efforts by a revamped senior management team to bring the lender's operations closer to its parent company and rein in questionable practices by loan officers.
Robert Lucas, who replaced John T. Williams as president and chief executive in January, acknowledged in an interview that Huntington has been struggling with managerial as well as home loan origination problems.
"There has been turmoil here because there have been management changes; that in and of itself has been unsettling," Mr. Lucas said.
Huntington's entire upper management is new, save one long-time, former bank executive.
The Columbus, Ohio, lender reports that production is way off last year's figures -- down 122% in the first six months of 1994, compared with the year-earlier period.
Some of the bank's declines are attributable to today's paltry market for home loan originations, Mr. Lucas said.
Besides Mr. Lucas, Gregg Christenson replaced Glenn A. Laine as chief financial officer late last year. And Gordon R. Rogers recently took over for Douglas E. Brandewie, senior vice president in charge of secondary marketing activity.
'A Funny Business'
Mr. Lucas said the departures were voluntary. According to him, Mr. Brandewie and Mr. Laine elected to leave out of loyalty to Mr. Williams.
"This is kind of a funny business," Mr Lucas said. "People in this industry develop loyalties to each other, not to the companies they work for. It's strange to me, but that's the way it works."
Mr. Brandwie and Mr. Laine could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Lucas hopes the new management will help the mortgage company work closer with its parent to cross-sell products.
The lender's rank and file have also experienced changes. Last month, Huntington Mortgage eliminated 119 positions. Since last year, the lender has reduced its staff 22%, to 759.
But Mr. Lucas also attributed some of the departures to the managerial overhaul as well as operational changes. One major change is a new policy limiting and in some cases forbidding "overages," or charging borrowers more than the going interest rate.
Sources say Huntington Mortgage was blasted by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency a few months ago regarding a loan originator in Cleveland who charged exorbitant overages.
An OCC spokesman and Mr. Lucas declined to comment.
Changes at the lender, including the change in its policy on overages, have some Huntington employees unsettled, Mr. Lucas said.
"The bankers arrive on the scene and they institute a new overage policy -- that worries everybody," Mr. Lucas said. "They worry about whether the bank will influence our growth and opportunities, all of which are unfounded."