local, REI-friendly Chicago banks

25 Replies

I'm in the Chicagoland area and currently banking with a big national bank, but I'm thinking that from a REI perspective that it might be wise to use a smaller local bank that might appreciate my business more and be more flexible about loans than the big guys.

Do people have any recommendations/experiences with more local Chicago banks? 

Thanks in advance.

@Svend W. can you be more descriptive about what you are trying to do.  What are you buying, how are you envision buying it? That will help someone give you better suggestions.

Gold Coast Bank can get creative when you need financing. Countryside Bank has some of the best rehab/construction loan terms you can find and will do 85% of purchase+rehab they are more of a traditional bank and could be a good place to also use for daily banking.

I used big banks before and it was a pain. The service Blueleaf lending with Midwest  Bank provided was amazing.  Tell Mike Coyne I say hi.  Use Crystal Siver as the attorney, if you need one.

They sold my mortgage to Wells Fargo afterwards.  They will likely not serve your mortgage. 

They were punctual,  effective,  and diligent.


@Svend W.  Two local lenders that I can highly recommend for commercial financing (5+ units) are Marquette Bank and Royal Bank. If you would like me to provide more info and contacts please send me a DM.

@Svend W. I am pretty sure that all of these banks would be good places. The only question I would have is why are you looking to go with a small, local bank for your house hack? The lender I typically refer out here in Chicago is with a large company (Loan Depot), and I have noticed that in the 1-4 unit space these larger companies are very, very competitive. 

Now if you are looking to pick up a six flat that would be a different story. Like @Dave Madoch mentioned, Blue Leaf was absolutely incredible on his deal. I am still stunned at how quick they were!

You raise an interesting point, @John Warren . Would it be reasonable to say that the differences in working with a smaller local bank are less relevant to small (2-4) multi family deals? At that smaller scale are lending terms pretty “cookie cutter” across the industry? Thanks 

Interesting suggestions on here.  Thanks to everyone who has posted, mainly commenting so we can find these names in the future.  At one point, we thought we wanted to get more established with a local bank and made a multi unit purchase with Byline - a few years back when they were quite a bit smaller.  Our loan officer passed away during the process and it seemed like no one took over his portfolio.  With normal calendar time, we originally didn't notice because the process in general has down time to the buyer.  After about 2-3 weeks and when we were expecting something, we couldn't get anyone to tell us anything.  NO answers to phone calls or emails. Our lawyer couldn't get any info either.  Byline's phone system was bad then too.  We ended up only learning of his passing after visiting a branch and asking why we hadn't heard anything.  There was quite a delay ultimately with our closing.  Fortunately, it didn't cause a problem with the seller. 

I don't think this would happen today, they are much larger and have taken over/consolidated a couple other banks since then.  

I second @Mike B. 's recommendation for First Eagle in general, they're a portfolio lender also who can get creative on financing for 2-4's particularly when it comes to rehab costs - not too many lenders out there who will finance construction on smaller properties but they're one of them. Let me know if you want an intro to my contact.

But to try to answer your question "Would it be reasonable to say that the differences in working with a smaller local bank are less relevant to small (2-4) multi family deals?" the key nuance doesn't seem to be 2-4 vs 5+/commercial here, it's that you'd be living in the property so it'd be owner-occupied.  An owner-occupied 1-4 unit property has many more attractive financing options vs. an investment property that you wouldn't be living in.  You'd likely qualify for a conventional Fannie loan and could potentially put 5% down, but a smaller community bank likely will still require the 20/25% down.  Your interest rate would probably be lower too. It's been a while but I used a Guaranteed Rate mortgage broker for this before.

Good luck!

On a different note can anyone recommend a portfolio or commercial lender in Chicago that can offer a fixed rate so I can mitigate my interest rate risk.

My loan is currently with Lakeside Bank and I have been pleased with their service, however they do not offer fixed rates for 15-30 years.

In particular, I have a 6 unit that has a balloon and want to lock down rate so I don't need to worry about rising rates in future.

Thanks in advance.

@Svend W. in my experience the local portfolio lenders offer much worse terms for your first 10 loans. I haven't had to go beyond my 10 loan limit as I jumped into commercial deals, but I would think you would want to turn to local players once you go past the 10 loan limit and cannot qualify for conventional financing anymore. 

@Svend W. - depends on what you're looking for.  1-4unit residential rehabs, buy and holds, etc.?  I'd recommend a direct, "correspondent" lender as they'll offer more, be quicker/easier to work with, and more accommodating.  Guaranteed Rate, Fairway Independent Mortgage, and Neighborhood Loans are examples of local lenders worth looking into. 

@Ashley Pimsner feel free to PM me. I called like 30 banks trying to find fixed rate 5+ found a local bank that will do a 25-30 year term but still has a 5/10 year ARM with limits on how much can raise. It's still a lot safer then a balloon where if we are in a bad crash you could potentially not be able to refi. Wells Fargo will do a 15 year fixed term/rate but it's only 15 years so not really that good on acquisition but could be a nice option if tired of refinancing and want to finish off a smaller remaining mortgage balance.

@Javier Alday Countryside Bank is awesome for flips non owner occupant. I know someone who couldn't sell the flip and the bank was cool and just kept letting them extend no hassles. It's rare to get 15% down at a good rate like they do. 

If you are planning to live in the unit as mentioned above just owner occupant low down payment options are the best. You can also get HELOC to pull equity out at a very low cost when owner occupying.

Currently looking to consolidate my portfolio. I just purchased a 6 unit with hard money bringing my my portfolio to 15 units which are under 4 different mortgages (5 including current hard money purchase, 6 including my primary residence)

Ive seen lakeside and blue leaf mentioned and have currently reached out 

Am I missing anything? Always listening and and willing to hear suggestions