Eagle Bank Takes Q1 Loss After Mortgage Expansion

Eagle Bank Takes Q1 Loss After Mortgage Expansion
Cathy Owen, chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust (Karen E. Segrave)

Jumping talons-first into a new line of business can be expensive. Just ask Cathy Owen.

The chairman of Eagle Bank & Trust of Little Rock says the reliably profitable bank’s $669,000 loss in the first quarter reflects its investment in the rapid expansion of its mortgage operations.

Eagle Bank started its mortgage department in 2014 with Lee Welfel as president, and hired several mortgage bankers away from IberiaBank last fall, including Chuck Quick and Bill Edwards, who is the mortgage department’s CEO.

Since the fourth quarter of 2017, Owen told Whispers, Eagle has opened mortgage offices in Bryant, Fayetteville, North Little Rock, West Memphis, Jonesboro and four locations out of state.

The result was a loss of a bit over $1 million in the mortgage department — less than projected, thanks to strong origination business, Owen said.

First-quarter net income for the rest of the bank was $365,000, up from $147,000 in the first quarter of 2017. Eagle Bank is projecting a return to profitability in the second quarter with gradual improvement throughout the year.

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