BOK Financial Corp. plans to open an Internet mortgage lending operation in Johnson County this summer as it attempts to grab a foothold in the fast-growing online market.
The facility would employ about 61 workers over the next two years, including 36 by the end of 2013, BOK executives said.
The Tulsa-based banking company is negotiating for office space and is currently looking at three locations in the county, said Todd Geiman, a senior vice president who is overseeing the expansion for BOK’s mortgage group. He did not identify the locations being considered, or the dollar amount of the expansion project.
Geiman recently joined BOK after spending the last seven years running a similar operation for National Bank of Kansas City.
The company, which is the parent of Bank of Kansas City, hopes to have the operation running over the next month, and expects to be in its new permanent space by Aug. 1. BOK will be adding loan officers, underwriters, processors and entry-level support staff.
The expansion represents a major push by BOK to expand its mortgage lending nationwide. The company’s mortgage operation originated about $4 billion in single-family home loans in 2012 in an eight-state territory that includes Missouri and Kansas. Those loans were generated by its loan officers mainly through referrals from builiders and Realtors, said Ben Cowen, president of the mortgage group.
The Johnson County facility would directly provide home loans to consumers nationwide who tap into the Internet.
“Less than five percent of mortgage loans are originated online, but the market’s growing every day,” Geiman said. “This would allow us to expand outside of our footprint and eventually into all 50 states.”
BOK plans to operate the mortgage facility under a different name that will be introduced in the next month or two.
The company decided on the Kansas City area for its Internet service center because it is already established in this market, Cowen said. In addition to being centrally located, there are other Internet mortgage operations here, providing a large pool of experienced employees to draw from, Cowen said.
BOK Financial had $28 billion in assets at the end of 2012. Its Bank of Kansas City unit has ten locations, including three full-service banking centers. Bank of Kansas has about 150 employees.