January 15. 2013 10:00AM

WaterStone saw significant growth in 2012

Pewaukee-based WaterStone Mortgage Corporation is growing at a fast clip.

The mortgage lending company, founded in 2000, now has 585 employees in 11 states. WaterStone added 135 employees in 2012 to keep up with a 65 percent increase in business.

While the company wasn’t trying to grow, it was necessary because of increased government regulations and a growing number of consolidations in the mortgage industry, said President and CEO Eric Egenhoefer.

A larger company means economies of scale when it comes to complying with the increased regulations, he said. There are also now fewer mortgage companies to compete with.

“We’ve seen a lot of consolidation and a lot of the government regulations have been driving a lot of change in the business,” Egenhoefer said. “There’s more business out there than can be handled and processed in a normal amount of time.”

As a result of the growth, the company will move its corporate headquarters from a four-building, 36,000-square-foot setup at 1133 Quail Ct., Pewaukee, to 42,000-square-foot space at the former GE Medical Systems building at N25 W23255 Paul Road, Pewaukee.

WaterStone, which signed a 10-year lease, has rights to expand into the full 56,000-square foot building.

The company also invested in infrastructure in 2012 that will allow for more efficiency, Egenhoefer said.

WaterStone Mortgage’s parent company, Wauwatosa-based Waterstone Financial Inc. reported third quarter net income of $8.4 million, 27 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $206,000 or 1 cent per share, in the same period a year ago.

"The record number of mortgage originations by Waterstone Mortgage Corp. has increased net income, and the steadfast improvement in WaterStone Bank's loan portfolio has resulted in significantly lower and more normalized loss provisions,” said Doug Gordon, president and CEO of Waterstone Financial.