Castle & Cooke Mortgage, an independent mortgage lender, announced its expansion into Connecticut with the opening of a branch in Columbia, a suburb of Hartford.

Regional Manager Jeffrey Heidtmann, a 32-year mortgage veteran, will manage the new office. Prior to joining Castle & Cooke Mortgage, he worked as a branch manager for Norcom Mortgage.

Heidtmann will focus on expanding Castle & Cooke Mortgage's lending footprint in Connecticut with plans to open three new offices by the end of 2016.

Heidtmann will also use his knowledge of first-time home buyers, refinances and purchase loans, as well as investor, construction and rehabilitation and government programs to serve Connecticut residents.

"I came to Castle & Cooke Mortgage to join a company with the same vision as I have for conducting business -- prioritizing customer service," Heidtman said. "Ultimately, our job as mortgage professionals is to help people realize their dreams of homeownership and to make it a reality, and I love it. It's very rewarding."

Adam Thorpe, Castle & Cooke’s president and chief operating officer, said that the company’s expansion into Connecticut is the logical next step in an aggressive expansion strategy that should have Castle & Cooke in 48 states by the end of 2016.

"With its diverse housing market, Connecticut is the perfect location for Castle & Cooke Mortgage,” Thorpe said.