Look out, Chicago-area lenders. Windsor Mortgage Inc., the new kid in town, means business.
"We're already big, and our intent is to be bigger," said Steven H. Baer, the company's president. "We want to be one of the dominant players in the Chicago area and, frankly, the best."
In June, what had until then been a medium-size mortgage broker based in suburban Wilmette took the final steps to change its corporate spots and become a full-service mortgage banker.
$400 Million Origination Target
That same month, the new entity broke into the ranks of the top 10 Chicago-area lenders. Windsor, owned by the founders of Koenig & Strey Realtors, a large Chicago-area firm, originated $300 million of home loans last year, one third of which came from Koenig & Strey.
During the first six months of this year, Windsor's 10 branches forged ahead and wrote $181 million of loans. Mr. Baer said he expected to originate as much as $400 million of loans over the full year.
Mr. Baer came to Windsor with 20 years of real estate experience. Most recently, he ran real estate operations at American National Bank in Chicago. He expects to stick close to home. "We will not be a nationwide operation," he said.
Mr. Baer said Windsor's growth would come through opening new branches and honing an advertising campaign to highlight a more upscale and polished corporate image.
"I think there is tremendous opportunity in the mortgage business. Our vision is to have a billion-dollar origination shop in the next few years," he said.
Windsor Mortgage may well be arriving on the scene at the top of the market, but Mr. Baer said Koenig & Strey, which provides a ready source of loans for Windsor, would guarantee its survival.
Currently, Windsor sells all its loans to correspondent lenders but Mr. Baer said that may soon change. He hopes to build a servicing portfolio to offset the expected decline in originations when interest rates move up.