Heartland Financial USA Inc. in Dubuque, Iowa, has picked up a team of mortgage bankers that had worked at a failed Arizona thrift.

The $4.1 billion-asset company said Tuesday that it had hired 24 people, including managers, originators, processors and closers located in Phoenix. Jeff Walton leads the team, which had been a part of National Residential Mortgage, a profitable unit of First Arizona Savings, a Scottsdale thrift that failed Oct. 22.

"As nonbank competitors in this space are beginning to disappear, we see significant opportunity … by expanding residential loan origination as a gateway retail product," Lynn B. Fuller, Heartland's chairman, president and chief executive, said in a press release.

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