Trusting Tradition with TrustCo Bank

In an era when changes to the mortgage industry are so rapid it’s hard to keep track of them, Orlando homebuyers may save themselves time and money by sticking with tradition. Trustco Bank turns 120 years old in 2022 and has been a presence in Florida for almost 20 years, following many of its upstate New York customers south and increasing its footprint as seasonal snowbirds became full-time Floridians. It now has 53 branches in the Sunshine State, 37 in Central Florida and 8 on each coast.

Around Orlando, one of the nation’s hottest housing markets, every penny counts when buying a home, and a hometown banking approach makes it possible to find a bargain among Orlando-area mortgage lenders. Trustco is what’s known as a “portfolio lender,” which means its loans are made against customer deposits, keeping the money in the communities it serves. It’s a simple concept, sometimes called “self-funding,” “holding your own paper,” “keeping it on the books,” or “not selling the loan.”

This is important because the longstanding practice of portfolio lending sets the bank apart from many other players in the crowded mortgage industry, from multinational banks to the rapidly expanding selection of nonbank mortgage lenders. The mortgage products are customized for individual buyers, not for investors that buy mortgage loans. This sets up a longstanding banking relationship, sometimes the full 30 years of a conventional mortgage, and cuts down origination and closing costs.

Portfolio lenders don’t interact with any of the major Federal mortgage agencies – Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or Ginnie Mac – so buyers don’t have to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). That’s an annual savings of as much as $1,200. Portfolio lenders don’t negotiate points – upfront fees paid to get a lower interest rate – and transactions close faster because the money doesn’t have to be put in escrow.

Florida’s tax advantages, particularly the lack of a state income tax, means retired homebuyers aren’t taxed on income from Social Security, pensions, IRAs and or 401(k) retirement plans. That’s made it easy for Trustco to expand using its time-tested business model, which includes requiring only a 10% deposit on a home’s total value, and a mortgage to cover the other 90%.

In the last two decades, plenty of Floridians and transplanted snowbirds have seen the advantages of the hometown banking model. Since its southern expansion, Trustco has grown its Florida residential mortgage portfolio to over $1 billion. Keeping mortgages simple helps buyers with a sometimes-complicated process – a prospective buyer can apply for a mortgage loan in any branch, and it is appraised, underwritten, and processed by employees living and working in those same communities.  That keeps closing costs low, and lets the bank offer highly competitive rates, a major consideration for any kind of buyer in a year when rates are nearly guaranteed to climb higher.

Author’s Bio:

Eric Schreck serves as the Executive Vice President & Florida Regional President of Trustco Bank. He has been with Trustco Bank for over 30 years, where he directs operations for all Florida branch offices in the state.  Eric has extensive experience in sales and service initiatives, along with developing measurement standards to monitor branch performance. Eric holds a Management Science degree from Cortland College, and an MBA in Finance from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Trustco Bank operates 147 branches in total, 53 located within the state of Florida, 39 of which are in Central Florida.  Trustco is known for offering a wide variety of great deposit and loan products and the bank specializes in residential mortgage lending.  To learn more about the bank visit www.TrustcoBank.com.

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Written by Eric Shreck

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