Local mortgage lenders see an opportunity with MetLife’s plans to exit the mortgage origination business.
Some see the move as a chance to hire good mortgage lenders, while others view it as an opportunity to expand market share.
MetLife, the nation’s largest life insurer, said MetLife Home Loans would no longer accept new loan applications to purchase homes. The company will continue to originate reverse mortgages.
The MetLife Home Loans office at 800 E. First in Old Town has consistently ranked as one of the 10 biggest mortgage lenders in Sedgwick County. That’s based on the number of resident mortgage filings by lenders, which is compiled in Security 1st Title’s TREM report.
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It’s not clear how many people work out of the office or when the local office will wind down operations. Bret Frerichs, manager of the Wichita office, said he couldn’t comment. A MetLife spokesman in New York did not return a call for comment.
Mortgage lenders said the Wichita MetLife Home Loans office has produced a lot of business for some time.
“They’ve been a strong competitor for many years,” said Dan Jones, regional lending manager for Capitol Federal Savings.
Matthew Wendling, Wichita branch manager for Bank of Oklahoma Mortgage Group, said “they had a good group of people and they had a good run while they were doing loans.”
And, he said, he’d like to see some of those people come to his company, adding that he’s “got my feelers out.”
“From a competitive standpoint it means good things for us … that we’ll have the opportunity to pick up some people,” Wendling said.
He said many of the MetLife loan officers are experienced and well-regarded in the business, not to mention “they would bring a complete referral business.”
“I think there’s going to be many people out there trying to get them to join their organizations,” Wendling said.
Mitch Crouch, senior vice president of Pulaski Bank’s Wichita mortgage office, sees potential to grow his firm’s business here.
“I look at it as a positive for us because we’re hoping we’ll be doing more business because of it,” Crouch said.