A little more than a year after saving a struggling Kansas thrift, the owners of a Chicago mortgage firm have been awarded two large grants to relocate the thrift's headquarters to the Windy City and open a large loan production office there.
On Thursday, the Federal Savings Bank in Overland Park, Kan., said it will open its national home loan center in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood and staff it with as many as 400 new employees. The thrift is expected to receive $10,000 per employee from a city of Chicago grant that is intended to go toward job training. It could also receive as much as $9.5 million in tax credits from the state over the next decade if it hits its employment goals.
"This is another example of a company making a strong commitment to Chicago and recognizing that the city has the sort of talent it needs to grow and thrive," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a press release. "By relocating their corporate headquarters to Chicago, Federal Savings Bank will open new opportunities and foster economic development and job creation for its employees, its customers, and its new city."
The grant is the largest ever awarded by the City of Chicago's TIFWorks program, according to a press release.
The thrift is planning a similar production office in Kansas and Stephen Calk, its chairman and chief executive, said in an interview that it is planning additional offices across the country. He added that the thrift plans to open a full-service branch in Chicago within the year if it can gain regulatory approval.
In May 2011, Stephen and his brother, John, bought the-then $38 million-asset Generations Bank in a rare foreclosure of a loan that was secured by the thrift's stock. Calk said the thrift now has $100 million of assets and that its growth has largely been fueled by home mortgages that it has kept on its books.
"They are near misses with Fannie Mae. They are low risk, low loan-to-value, high credit loans that just don't fit the box," Calk said.
The Calk brothers are from Chicago and their mortgage bank, Chicago Bancorp, is based there. That entity is not connected to the thrift, though Calk said that he and his brother take a similar approach to running both operations.
"We stick to our ethical practice of working with buyers who have the ability and propensity to pay us back. It is simple but trite," Calk said.