November 22, 2016 - From the Blog
By Live Baltimore's Business Relationship Manager, Carrie Baniszewski
At Live Baltimore, relationships with our real estate partners are so important to our success. These relationships allow us to ensure our home buying clients have access to businesses and individuals who are not only experts in their fields but also experts in Baltimore City.
These partners share our vision and passion for Baltimore City and are able to guide our clients through the often intimidating process of purchasing a new home, finding the perfect neighborhood and taking advantage of the many incentives available.
I recently sat down with Charlie Maykrantz from 1st Mariner Mortgage, a locally owned bank, about how they are uniquely qualified to assist the Live Baltimore client with their mortgage needs.
LB: Can you give us a brief history on 1st Mariner?
CM: 1st Mariner was formed back in 1995 as a result of a merger of several different financial institutions. We are the largest independently-owned bank headquartered in Baltimore City and serve Central Maryland with 14 full service branches. In 1996, 1st Mariner Mortgage, a division of the bank, was founded. 1st Mariner Mortgage serves central and southern Maryland, the Eastern Shore, and Northern Virginia.
In 2014, 1st Mariner went through an ownership change after being purchased by a group of investors. Through the ownership change, our primary goal has remained the same, to make sure we provide personalized service to customers, with a laser focus on serving the financial needs of our community. We’ve built our bank to be your reliable, trusted, hometown community-oriented bank and take great pride in the fact that we are that type of institution.
LB: What are some of the loan products 1st Mariner Mortgage offers?
CM: On the residential side we offer a variety of loan products, everything from 30-year fixed rate to adjustable rate mortgages. We offer the Maryland Mortgage Program’s loans and we are a large provider of the down payment assistance programs for city and state.
LB: What is the advantage/difference with choosing to use a local bank for your mortgage needs over a national one?
CM: Choosing a local bank for your mortgage means that when a customer needs something, they can walk down the street to talk to someone, or pick up the phone to call someone local. Everyone they deal with is right here, in the City. Because we are an independent community bank, we have the ability to provide personalized attention and place an emphasis on the unique needs of each individual we serve. At 1st Mariner, you’ll find many of the same financial products and services that are offered by many larger competitors. However, 1st Mariner was built to provide more personalized service by offering its customers access to local bank officers who are empowered to act with flexibility to meet customer’s needs and build long-term banking relationships. Because we are not a big, out-of-town bank, critical decisions are made right here in Baltimore, resulting in a faster response when you need it most. As the top local community bank, we make it easier for Baltimore to do business.
LB: How familiar/experienced are you with the Baltimore City Incentives and the Maryland Mortgage Program?
CM: 1st Mariner Mortgage have been working with the Baltimore City programs since their inception, in late 1999, early 2000. We started doing MMP loans around the same time. We were, at one time, one of the top lenders for MMP. We are looking to do that again.
LB: How long have you worked for 1st Mariner, Charlie?
CM: I have been working for 1st Mariner since November 1998.
LB: What do you love about working for 1st Mariner?
CM: The people. My co-workers are phenomenal and the management team is second to none. They are here to help in any way possible. The bank is geared to make an institution that is great to work for. We have a number of employees who have been here since the beginning as well as several, like myself, who have left the company only to come back. We truly are a family at 1st Mariner and we want to make sure our customers feel like they are a part of our family as well.
LB: Why should a Live Baltimore client go to 1st Mariner Mortgage for their mortgage needs?
CM: 1st Mariner Mortgage gives top rate service; we treat each customer as the most important person we deal with. We will be sure to offer them the program that is best suited for them and their goals. We strive to meet the needs of the customer at the very beginning of the process and follow through to the end.
LB: Why did 1st Mariner choose to partner with Live Baltimore?
CM: We at one time were partners with Live Baltimore and found that it was a very successful partnership. During the time we did not have the partnership we felt that we were missing a part of the City market. Live Baltimore programs give information to those that want to live and work in the city, customers who bring a passion for city living. We felt that Live Baltimore is a great organization for us to utilize. Being a city-operated institution we felt it was important to partner with Live Baltimore once again because we both have the same goal of assisting individuals and families who want to make Baltimore City home.
LB: When a customer reaches out to you through our website, seeking a mortgage loan, what can they expect, what are the next steps?
CM: First, we want to be sure they are working with one of the housing counseling agencies in order to qualify for any of the incentives. Then we look to get the buyer qualified and approved for a loan. We do that by making an appointment to meet with the customer, find out as much as we can about the customer and what they hope to accomplish, pull their credit and then go over options. We will work to tie the customers’ needs and goals in with the loan product and incentive programs that are best for their situation. We treat customers like they are part of 1st Mariner Mortgage family, providing the hand holding from start to finish and guide them all the way through to ensure the end result is them being a happy Baltimore City homeowner.
LB: What is your favorite thing about the City?
CM: The city itself is my favorite thing, the entire city. The explosion I’ve seen in the city recently, from the Inner Harbor to the stadiums being built, people moving into the city. All these changes along with organizations like Live Baltimore are making Baltimore a city where people want to live, want to move to. 1st Mariner believes in Baltimore City because it is where so many of us are from and call home. Live Baltimore helps us to promote this city we all love.
LB: Is there anything else you would like us to know about 1st Mariner Mortgage?
CM: One thing is we like our customers to feel, once the process is over, is that they made the right choice. That we made them feel that they are part of the organization, part of the decision-making process. Without the customer, we are not here. We will always put the customers’ best interest first. There is nothing that beats hearing a customer say they came to us because a friend or family told them they should, “Go to 1st Mariner, they made us feel we were part of their family!”
Thanks to Charlie for his willingness to speak with us—and for his enthusiasm for Baltimore. If you'd like to speak with 1st Mariner Mortgage about your mortgage, look for them at an upcoming Live Baltimore event or find their profile on our website.