by Dan Rafter
Commercial mortgage-banking company Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital will expand its service into the Minneapolis and Detroit markets once it merges in early September with Towle Financial Services.
Bellwether Enterprise, headquartered in Cleveland, announced the merger earlier this month. The move will add about $400 million in annual loan volume and $1.4 billion in servicing volume to Bellwether when it closes in early September. It will also bring Bellwether’s total annual loan volume to an estimated $2.5 billion while boosting its annual servicing volume to $8 billion.
This isn’t the first big merger for Bellwether Enterprise. In 2012, the then Bellwether Real Estate Capital merged with Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Ned Huffman, president of Bellwether Enterprise, told Midwest Real Estate News that one of the goals of that merger was to allow the newly named Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital to grow into major new markets.
The merger with Towle allows that to happen, Huffman said.
“Minneapolis is a tremendous market,” Huffman said. “And Detroit is adjacent to our headquarters location in Cleveland. These are two markets in which there is tremendous opportunity for us to grow our business.”
As part of the merger, Towle’s executive team members will receive equity stake in Bellwether Enterprise. Towle’s 11 employees will remain with the company. Towle, which was founded in 1909, will eventually take on the Bellwether name. There is no set time, though, for when the Towle name will disappear.
Huffman said that the similarities between Towle and Bellwether made the merger a smart move. Both companies are based in the Midwest. Both provide a boutique-level of service. And both work with many of the same lenders.
Huffman said that these similarities will ensure a smooth transition.
Mark Vannelli, president of Towle Financial Services, said that little will change for Towle’s customers after the merger.
“The day-to-day operation will remain the same, from application to closing,” Vannelli said in a written statement.
Once the merger is complete, expect Bellwether Enterprise to make a bigger splash in both the Detroit and Minneapolis markets. Huffman said that he is excited to see the impact that the newly merged firm can make in these busy markets.
“We know that this is a people business. It’s important to find good relationships with lending institutions and insurance companies,” Huffman said. “It is critical to be able to offer an extensive set of products to our clients in these markets. Towle is an example of a group that for years has had multiple options that it can offer to its customers in these two markets. That fits in really well with what we want to do.”