Magazine article American Banker

To Offset Refi Slump, Amro Revs Up Relocation Lending

Magazine article American Banker

To Offset Refi Slump, Amro Revs Up Relocation Lending

Article excerpt

Because refinancings are on the wane, ABN Amro Mortgage Group Inc. is moving some salespeople from customer retention to relocation lending, its senior vice president for business development says.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., lender will transfer 20 to 25 loan officers to the production channel that courts corporate employees who are moving, Marc Strampel said. The officers' current job is to ensure that borrowers whose loans are serviced by ABN stay with the company when they refinance.

The transferred staff will supplement six mortgage consultants who are already trained in the specific needs of relocating employees.

Mr. Strampel's division also offers mortgages through affinity groups. In addition to the sales force, about 15 employees handle back-office operations.

It is relatively easy to expand relocation staff, Mr. Strampel said, because "it's not a matter of bringing new people on, it's a matter of redirecting staff in a new direction."

Transferred employees need to be retrained, however, and it will take time to generate enough volume to replace lost refis, he said. "It's not like you can just walk over to the wall and flip off one switch and flip on another."

ABN hopes to fund $250 million to $500 million of relocation mortgages next year, up from $50 million this year.

The unit of ABN Amro Holding NV of the Netherlands chiefly lends through brokers.

In 2000 it acquired Executive Relocation Corp. in Chicago as part of its purchase of Michigan National Corp. …

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