Castle & Cooke travel up from the valley John Lukrich and Michael Larsen open local branch of mortgage company
Three years ago, John Lukrich was in real estate development and Michael Larsen was in the mortgage business. They met through a mutual friend while working on a project, and as a result, they are now loan officers and partners in operating a local branch of Castle & Cooke Mortgage, LLC.
The branch opened on Prospector Avenue in August 2013, and since then, much like for the Park City Board of Real Estate and the Park City Home Builders Association, they have seen a significant increase in business.
Larsen attributes their success to the company’s ability to grant unique loans that most other lenders in the area do not handle.
"When someone calls from, let’s say, Houston, Texas looking to buy a second home, and it is a condominium here that allows some specific things a lot of other vendors won’t allow whether it’s nightly rentals or check-in desks at the condominiums we have the ability to do those loans," he said.
However, Lukrich said he believes they have thrived because Castle & Cooke is one of only 1 percent of banks in the country that qualifies as a direct seller to Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"That is a pretty big deal when it comes to being able to underwrite loans, for example," Larsen said. "We underwrite off of raw data that we get from Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], so it makes the process faster and easier."
Castle & Cooke’s national headquarters are located in Salt Lake City, but Lukrich and Larsen decided about two years ago that they wanted to open an office in Park City. Once they established enough volume while working out of the Salt Lake City branch, Larsen said the company made the investment to open a branch in Park City.
Both Lukrich and Larsen want the business to become a part of the Park City community and hope to offer exceptional customer service with Castle & Cooke’s system.
"I hear us both say on the phone often, ‘We are going to try and make this as painless as possible,’" Lukrich said. "In the end, to get these deals completed in a manner that is as painless as possible is the bottom line for us."
Castle & Cooke’s Park City branch offers services for anything having to do with a mortgage product, which includes investments as well as specialty loans. Those loans include rural housing plans and Utah housing loans, both of which require no down payment.
Lukrich said they also help with purchasing houses, condominiums or any other type of housing that falls within the residential loan category. While roughly 80 percent of their clientele are out-of-towners looking to purchase a primary or second home in town, Larsen said they treat all of their customers equally.
"In the end, we want a customer that is happy with us and will refer us to other people," he said. "Ultimately, we want to grow this branch based upon the fact that it was a good experience, that they rely on us for our expertise and that we have the ability to deliver based upon the way we structure the company.
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