Amerant Bank — one of Florida’s largest community banks – is to offer mortgages through a new joint venture with several high profile real estate investors. Amerant Mortgage will be a joint venture between the bank and Howard Levine, Tony Eelman, Marshall Martin, and Joe Keel. Amerant’s existing mortgage division will be rolled into the new joint venture.
The four well-known real estate investors said they saw an opportunity in the market amid growing demand for residential mortgages in the area. In launching the new project, they outlined their vision to create “a large-scale, highly efficient, and profitable nationwide mortgage banking business.”
The venture is being spurred on by Florida’s growing real estate market. The state is witnessing a boom in new residents, as who were hesitant to spend at the start of the pandemic, but are increasingly returning to the market, with metropolitan areas seeing some of the highest rates of growth.
House prices are rising too. In Orlando, the average sale price in December was up 7.1% compared to last year, according to data from national real estate brokerage Redfin.
“Through the establishment of Amerant Mortgage, we have an exceptional opportunity to become increasingly active players in this industry,” said Howard Levine, executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “This JV is a truly unique business model,” he added. “This model combines robust product offerings with exceptional service — an absolute win/win for the consumer.”
Capitalising on this momentum is imperative to Amerant’s vision, according to Millar Wilson, Vice-Chairman and CEO. “The ongoing positive sales trajectory, coupled with generationally low-interest rates, which are expected to continue throughout 2021, has created unprecedented momentum in the residential mortgage origination space.” Danielle Hale, realtor.com Chief Economist believes that this will be a key trend for 2021: “While we expect mortgage rates to tick up gradually, sales and price growth will be propelled by still strong demand and a recovering economy.” The $8 billion asset company will have majority ownership of the venture.