MidCountry Bank News 2011
News from 2011
"Mortgage Division President Greg Krenz displays the American Bankers Association's "2011 Community Bank Award for Helping to Achieve Home ownership," which MidCountry Bank was honored with Feb. 22, 2011. MidCountry Bank was recognized for its innovation, creativity, and effectiveness in helping families realize the American dream."
American Bankers Association recognizes MidCountry's support of first-time homeowners
MINNETONKA, Minn. (03-08-11) MidCountry Bank was nationally recognized for its community outreach efforts in support of first-time homeowners during the American Bankers Association (ABA) National Conference for Community Bankers in San Diego, Calif., Feb. 22. MidCountry was awarded for its endeavors in the "Helping to Achieve Homeownership" category. Established in 2005, the ABA Community Bank Awards program recognizes the outstanding charitable achievements of its member banks.
Nine banks were selected from a field of more than 180 nominations (and more than 7,500 banks nationally), based on the innovation, creativity and effectiveness of the bank's approach to making a difference in its community.
Due to MidCountry's new homeowner assistance program, 80 families were able to buy their first home in 2010, while another 60 received down payment assistance, and nearly 20 received renovation funds. Despite the challenging market, these families now have a place to call their own and are helping rebuild communities devastated by foreclosures.
"MidCountry Bank is honored to receive this award, which represents our commitment to helping our customers and community members achieve their homeownership dreams," said Greg Krenz, MidCountry Bank mortgage division president. "Our company is guided by our core values of integrity, fairness, honesty, compassion and excellence, and we believe that making the quality of life better for others is something to recognize, celebrate and foster."
Posted: 1:30 pm Fri, March 18, 2011 By Chris Newmarker
MidCountry Bank helped first-time homebuyers Brian and Daisha Moss arrange down payment assistance through the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency as well as a 30-year FHA loan with lower-than-normal interest rates.
MidCountry says mortgage division helped it weather Great Recession
MidCountry Bank is finding that helping the less affluent find homes has an added benefit - securing MidCountry's financial future.
Minnetonka-based MidCountry, which has locations in Minnesota, southern Illinois and Nevada, participates in city, county and state affordable housing programs in locales where it operates. Such programs account for 15 percent of the mortgages MidCountry writes annually.
It is one of about 20 smaller banks around the Twin Cities that offer Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) mortgages, which provide low-interest, 30-year loans to first-time homebuyers with low to moderate incomes. Since 2006, MidCountry has written 260 MHFA home loans totaling about $34 million, according to MHFA data.
MidCountry also offers MHFA home rehabilitation loans and is active in the Federal Housing Administration's 203(k) program, which allows homebuyers to finance an additional $35,000 into their mortgage to improve or upgrade a home before move-in. (The median annual household income for MHFA mortgage recipients was about $36,000 in 2009, the latest year available.)
Greg Krenz, president of MidCountry Bank's mortgage division, credits the affordable housing work with helping the bank weather the Great Recession. Along with business lending, it is an important niche for the bank. MidCountry, which has $727.1 million in assets, is considered well-capitalized and earned $1.4 million in 2010. MidCountry's earnings place it among the top fourth of Twin Cities-based banks, according to U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.
Even so, the recession years were not trouble-free. MidCountry lost $83.5 million in 2008 and 2009. Many of the losses were a result of MidCountry's having to reduce the book value of previously acquired banks; they simply were not worth what they had been before the recession. In addition to the income from selling off the MHFA mortgages, MidCountry acquires a loyal customer base into the future. The strict requirements around the mostly government-sponsored programs help ensure the loans are stable. Homebuyers also receive down payment assistance and home finance education classes through many of the programs. "These loans are no more profitable or actually less profitable than other loans that can be sold," Krenz said. "What you do gain is you gain a customer. ... A lot of these folks, they really appreciate you spent the time and effort. So five years later, 10 years later, when they're ready to buy their next house, you can do another mortgage for them," Krenz said.
Krenz says MidCountry Bank stands out in this area from other smaller banks because it seeks to participate in almost any affordable housing program available. Out of MidCountry's 45 mortgage employees, more than two-thirds have expertise in affordable housing. "We want to make sure anyone involved in this is well-versed in the various program requirements," Krenz said.
MidCountry's work with first-time homebuyers won a recognition award at this year's American Bankers Association National Conference; only nine banks nationwide received the awards.
While Minnesota has solid programs promoting homeownership among low- and moderate-income families, none of these initiatives would work if banks such as MidCountry were not willing to write the loans, said Julie Gugin, executive director of the Minnesota Home Ownership Center, a nonprofit based in St. Paul.
Gugin said the banks' work is "critical in getting these programs out in the state." MidCountry, for example, helped Brian and Daisha Moss buy a home in Bloomington last October. The couple, who have four children, are first-time homebuyers. Brian Moss works full time as a supervisor at United Parcel Service of America Inc. Daisha Moss works part time at a department store. MidCountry helped them arrange down payment assistance and financial education classes through the MHFA, as well as a 30-year FHA loan with lower-than-normal interest rates. "They made the process easy," Brian Moss said. "They did a lot of stuff for us behind the scenes, to where all we would have to do is come in and they would explain it to us."
MidCountry Bank President Steve Meads said the affordable housing work demonstrates a "commitment to a set of core values and the communities we serve."
Such community support helped draw Meads to MidCountry after he stepped down in September as Bremer Bank's Twin Cities market president.
MidCountry came together between 2003 and 2006 from a series of mergers involving four banks, including Hutchinson, Minn.-based First Federal, where Krenz also was in charge of the mortgage division. First Federal and the other banks forming MidCountry had years of experience in affordable housing. Krenz and other MidCountry executives decided at the time that affordable housing was a "good, long-term, relationship-building area" for the bank. Plus, the expertise was in place. "If you do these loans and you don't do it correctly, that's a loan you're going to end up with on your books," Krenz said. "It's got to be done and done right. Otherwise it can be very costly. That's another reason why most companies won't touch these types of programs. They're very labor-intensive. You need to have a level of expertise to even be in the ballgame."
No subprime lending
Sticking to a niche and surviving the recession, MidCountry, which is chartered as a savings and loan, is in good financial shape. Krenz and his team feel lucky that they kept mortgage lending policies consistent over the years - even during the boom times. MidCountry did not engage in subprime lending or some of the other exotic mortgage products popular in the prerecession years.
"It wasn't our expertise, either," Krenz said. "We weren't subprime lenders before, so there wasn't a reason to move into that area."
To ensure the bank stayed well-capitalized, MidCountry's holding company, Macon, Ga.-based MidCountry Financial Corp., raised $13 million in late 2008. The holding company then pumped more than $18 million into the bank in 2008 and 2009. MidCountry also worked through its troubled loans quickly. Between the end of 2009 and the end of 2010, the dollar value of loans in default dropped by about a fourth, to $31.4 million. The value of foreclosed properties on the books fell by about two-fifths, to $11.8 million. With fewer troubled assets last year, MidCountry only had to reserve an additional $12.1 million for loan losses - about a third of what it had to set aside in 2009.
MidCountry Bank, in fact, has a lot in common with other community banks that weathered the recession: It stuck to niches in the banking industry and did not get too caught up in the housing boom that preceded the bust. Twin Cities banks including MidCountry also have latched onto U.S. Small Business Administration loans to businesses as an area of expertise. "Another example is smaller banks in southwestern Minnesota that have learned about the wind energy industry to lend to companies involved with it," said Marshall MacKay, president and chief executive of the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota.
"MidCountry's strategy of finding specialties is one community banks need to embrace," MacKay said. "They need to find their niche."
All MidCountry Bank locations are collecting donations for Give2theTroops
Community members are invited to drop off goods or monetary donations for the troops at any MidCountry Bank location starting now through September 15 in MN and through September 22 in southern Illinois. Food items such as snacks and drinks as well as entertainment items are typically the number one request.
Congratulations to the Top Women in Finance this year. The Top Women in Finance event on Thursday, November 10 recognized 50 award recipients; all very distinguished women who have made notable contributions to their professions and communities. Congratulations to the 2011 Top Women in Finance. Click here to see the list of honorees. MidCountry Bank was the proud Platinum sponsor of the Top Women in Finance event.
Jay Prybylo, CIO of MidCountry Bank, was named CIO of the Year by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
In its inaugural year, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has awarded the CIO of the Year Award to Jay Prybylo, CIO of MidCountry Bank. Prybylo won in the category for “Corporate: 250 - 1,000 IT Users/Staff.” Prybylo was honored at a luncheon at the Minneapolis Hilton yesterday.
Bank President Steve Meads recognized Prybylo as, “a great leader not only for the IT team, but for the entire Bank, with his commitment to ensuring we are equipped with the right technology and systems to support current and future objectives. We are honored to have him as a part of our team.”
In a time when banks are not performing at their peak, MidCountry Bank is growing.
MidCountry Bank is pleased to announce the expansion of its Equipment Leasing Division. Steve Meads, President of MidCountry Bank, announced that Michael J. McShane has been named President of MidCountry Equipment Finance (MCEF), previously known as OFC Capital Corporation. McShane is an industry veteran who built Carlton Financial Corporation into a $100 Million plus enterprise over 27 years. Several new team members of MCEF, also from the same company, are Gregory Christianson who will oversee lease accounting for MCEF, Steve Snater as Sales Manager and Becky Larson as Sr. Credit Analyst and Debt Funding Manager.
Meads stated, "We are pleased to have an accomplished professional like Mike and his team to lead our expansion. Their experience and expertise in leasing is a great addition to our company, and more importantly to the business community." MCEF has new offices at the MidCountry headquarters located at 14525 Hwy 7 – Suite 102, Minnetonka, MN 55345.
MidCountry Equipment Finance is a division of MidCountry Bank, a full-service bank with administrative headquarters in Minnetonka. Other locations include several in the Twin Cities area and out-state branches in Minnesota and a regional presence in Southern Illinois and Nevada. As a community bank, MidCountry provides high quality, diversified financial services and solutions for customers to meet their personal, business and professional banking needs. In addition, MidCountry Bank was recently honored with the American Bankers Association Community Bank Award for Helping Achieve Homeownership. Also, for the past six years MidCountry Bank received the highest rating possible from federal banking regulators for performance under the Community Reinvestment Act. To learn more, visit https://www.MidCountryBank.com/Equipment-Financing.aspx.
MidCountry Bank sponsored a free Lynx girls basketball clinic held at Minnetonka High School Thursday, August 25, 2011 from 1-3PM. Girls ages 8-12 refined their skills in dribbling, shooting and footwork, and also had the opportunity to meet and ask questions with Lynx players and WNBA stars Charde Houston & Seimone Augustus. At the end of the clinic the girls competed in the Bank Shot contest, winners are pictured below.