MetLife Bank plans to officially launch its new warehouse lending division in the fourth quarter and is in the process of hiring between four and six additional staffers for the business.

According to Brian Lewand, managing director and head of capital markets for the bank, "We plan to have a meaningful presence in the warehouse market."

Lewand, who has been with the New Jersey-based bank for 15 years, declined to give volume estimates on how fast the company might grow in regard to warehouse commitments but noted that MetLife plans to be a national player in the business.

As reported by National Mortgage News recently, in August MetLife hired two warehouse officials who worked at Sovereign Bank of Pennsylvania. (One official left Sovereign recently, the other several months ago.)

MetLife plans to extend credit to nonbank mortgage lenders and also hopes to purchase closed loans through its new correspondent division.

An increasing number of banks are considering getting into the warehouse lending business these days but many of the regional players will only extend credit to nondepositories operating in their bank footprint.

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