BOK Financial gears correspondent lending toward smaller banks

BOK Financial’s correspondent lending division created a unique product to cater specifically to small banks and credit unions.

Ben Cowen, president of BOK Financial Mortgage said, “The company saw purchasing residential mortgages from community banks and credit unions as a great strategic fit with them as a regional bank.”

BOK’s correspondent lending operation is unique in two ways: they do not cross-sell to borrowers, and they refer refinancing back to small banks and credit unions. To ensure this commitment, the bank’s correspondent lending division goes under the name FirstLand Mortgage Servicing.

Banks and credit unions are assured upfront that BOK Financial (BOKF) will not steal their customers, which in turn has created strong interest in doing business with BOK Financial, Cowen said.

Cowen explained that the bank already operates under various names in different states, such as Bank of Oklahoma and Bank of Texas, so they are used to changes in brand recognition.

So far, BOK Financial sees this niche market as a perfect fit with room to grow.

Robert Ross, senior vice president, channel leader of correspondent mortgage lending, said, “The company does not expect a lot of other banks to follow suit due to most correspondent investors’ desire to cross-sell the borrowers they source through the counterparties they purchase loans from.”

“The bank launched the correspondent mortgage lending division at the end of 2011 and since then, the company has seen a surge in profit and in demand,” Cowen added.

Since this time last year, the correspondent lending division has grown more than 700%. Additionally, the bank funded just over $400 million in loans in 2012, the bank said. 



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