Magazine article American Banker

Industry Veteran Has Upbeat View of Florida Market

Magazine article American Banker

Industry Veteran Has Upbeat View of Florida Market

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Muolo

By most economic measurements, Florida is still in the economic doldrums: more people are moving out than in, foreclosures are still in nosebleed territory and new home building is anemic. So now isn't exactly the best time for a mortgage firm to make inroads there. Or is it?

Tom Wind, the industry veteran who took the helm of J.I. Kislak Mortgage a few months back, said he believes that not only is Florida a good place for lenders to be right now, but "purchase money" loans are the way to go - builder purchase money loans, that is. "The best time to get into a market is when there's blood in the streets," he said in a recent interview with National Mortgage News.

As for concentrating on purchase loans, especially on newly constructed homes, Wind warned that some lenders are making a huge mistake by gorging on refinancings. "It's easy to take advantage of refis," he said. "That market will come to a close," and when it does Wind expects that dozens of mortgage banking firms will fold their tents.

When these lenders fail, Wind said he believes Kislak, of Miami Lakes, Fla., will be there to pick up the slack, hire the best available loan officers from the dying competition and reap the rewards. The firm - which re-entered the business last year after sitting on the sidelines for a good decade or more - is producing just $20 million a month in new originations. Most of that is builder related and comes through the retail channel.

By yearend Kislak hopes to be funding $100 million a month. …

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