Magazine article American Banker

Standard Federal on Course to Become a Wholesale Giant

Magazine article American Banker

Standard Federal on Course to Become a Wholesale Giant

Article excerpt

One of the nation's largest thrifts is forging ahead with aggressive plans to expand its newly acquired wholesale mortgage operation despite the downturn in the markets.

Michigan's Standard Federal Bank plans to have its Interfirst division operating in all 50 states by the end of the year.

Standard Federal had not been involved in wholesaling. According to Thomas R. Ricketts, president and chief operating officer, the $10 billion-asset company saw a chance to boost efficiency and its customer base by cutting back on duplication.

Interfirst was a small operation with originations of only $250 million until it merged with Standard Federal.

According to Stanley H. Rhodes, a senior vice president at the Interfirst unit, the wholesaler approached the thrift about the merger.

Needed Capital Infusion

The pairing occurred without much fanfare last December. Interfirst, which had offices in 38 states, was in sore need of capital and basic resources such as marketing, support staff, and equipment, according to Mr. Rhodes.

"We had grown as far as our capital would permit," said Mr. Rhodes. "So we went out there to find someone to marry."

Aligning with Standard Federal allowed the wholesaler to expand its sales staff to 40 representatives in 43 states, according to Mr. Rhodes. Interfirst expects to be in all 48 contiguous states by the end of the year, but isn't stopping there.

"My guess is, we'll be in Alaska and Hawaii by then too," Mr. …

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