MetLife Bank recently embarked on a new capital venture in residential mortgage warehouse lending, an unprecedented business expansion for the insurance and financial services firm. And according to managing director for the operation, Brian Lewand, it's about time. "We just felt that it was a natural fit for MetLife Bank," Lewand told HousingWire in an interview. "We'd like to be, what I call, a meaningful presence in the residential mortgage warehousing lending business." MetLife hired two former Sovereign Bank executives two weeks ago to help structure the new endeavor. Charley Clark, vice president and head of warehouse lending, will report directly to Lewand. Paul Chmielinski, head of warehouse lending relationship management, will report directly to Clark. Rumors were floating around previously about the hiring status of other individuals for MetLife's warehousing lending operation. Lewand said that the rumors pertained to other Sovereign Bank individuals and were not true. He also said that MetLife plans to add more staff to the project in the next four to eight weeks, but more information will be available at the end of the third quarter. Lewand, who is also head of Capital Markets for MetLife Bank, said ultimately, he thinks the launch of the new operation is smart business decision. "The fact is we think there's opportunity in the marketplace." Write to Christine Ricciardi.