NEW YORK CITY-Under the direction of veteran banker James Hurtig, Eastern Union has created a new small loans division. Hurtig joined Eastern Union six months ago in order to direct the launch of its new credit quality division, along with Richard Cassin, the former head of TD Bank‘s commercial real estate division.

Establishing a small loans division was the next logical step for the new credit quality group, according to Eastern Union executives. “This is all about being a full service shop for our clients,” says Abraham Bergman, managing partner. “Many of our competitors shy away from these deals due to lower profitability and difficulty in placing them. We decided to undertake this project in order to live up to our reputation that our clients always come first.”

Under Cassin’s leadership, the credit quality division is meant to bolster Eastern Union’s relationship with the banking community by making mortgage approvals happen more quickly, elevating conversion rates on loan submissions.  The small loans division will focus on deals below $2 million in their core markets. Senior brokers Jacob Neiman and Jonathan Horwitz, will be working under Hurtig to place and close these loans.

“When I came aboard Eastern Union, I saw a very dynamic and energetic group of brokers working on a surge of new production,” says Hurtig. “While small loans were coming in every day and being placed, I saw an opportunity for a more focused group to give these deals the special finesse they require to speed up and streamline the process and increase the overall conversion rate.”

Hurtig brings to the table an extensive knowledge of small loans from his prior career at Flushing Bank, which runs the largest small loans banking division in New York City. According to Eastern Union, his ability to quickly triage deals eliminates a lot of the frustrations of small loans and helps streamline a previously cumbersome process that, in the past, prevented brokers and banks alike from focusing on these loans.

Over a career spanning 35 years, Hurtig held positions both in both banking and brokerage, working in Flushing Bank as well as Chemical Bank and Mizrachi Bank, and at brokerage firms Coast Capital and Premium Capital Funding.