RBC Bank announced today that it plans to boost by $500 million the amount of new mortgages it finances this year.
The Raleigh-based bank said it plans to add more than 30 new mortgage loan officers across the Southeast to handle the increased volume. The bank currently has 125 loan officers.
The $500 million amounts to a 33 percent increase over the bank's current originations.
"We think that we've probably punched under our weight in the mortgage business," CEO Jim Westlake said in an interview this morning.
"It's a business we know very well. It's a business that is changing quite dramatically due to all of the issues. We think there's opportunities to step up by doing different things."
RBC has made a number of new hires to lead the effort, including Brad Church, a former head of Wachovia Mortgage who is now RBC's senior vice president of mortgage.
Westlake said expanding the company's mortgage business is a way to deepen its relationship with customers.
"People have mortgages for a long time," he said. "In most cases it's the biggest investment most of us will ever make."
RBC has about 430 branches and employs 5,000 workers. That includes about 500 in the Triangle, mostly at its headquarters tower in downtown Raleigh.
The Southeast's struggling real-estate market has hammered RBC Banks performance and triggered a 2009 restructuring that included cutting hundreds of jobs.
Westlake has projected that this year the bank will resume quarterly profits.