Birmingham-based Superior Bank said it will double its mortgage banking operation, with the addition of 60 employees to its origination business unit. The new staff will primarily serve Alabama borrowers at its branch locations, the bank said. Superior Bank is the major subsidiary of Superior Bancorp (SUPR), a $3.2bn thrift holding company headquartered in Birmingham. “We feel there is a tremendous opportunity in both Alabama and Florida not only to increase shareholder value but also to help people achieve their dream of home ownership through the expansion of our mortgage operation,” said Superior Bank president Rick Gardner. The expansion includes new systems and mortgage product offerings. “We see the mortgage business as core to our relationship with consumers, and we plan to continue taking advantage of opportunities to expand this business line in Alabama and Florida over the next several years,” Gardner added. Superior Bank has 72 branches located in Florida and Alabama and Superior Bancorp also operates 1st Community Credit and Superior Financial Services in 23 consumer finance offices in north Alabama. Write to Austin Kilgore.