WAUWATOSA, Wis. – CSMC, Inc., doing business as Central States Mortgage, is five months away from celebrating its 22nd birthday, and there’s one thing for sure – what started out as a privately owned company is now one of the most successful multi-owned CUSOs in Wisconsin and is no longer just about mortgages, but has morphed into five market areas and eight business subsidiaries.

For its first 13 years, Central States had no credit union shareholders, but was privately owned by people who managed the Wisconsin Credit Union League’s mortgage program as well as mortgage services for several Wisconsin credit unions. The company was actually called Midstates, and it had a division called Central Mortgage. The two names were merged in 1991. After developing an expertise and relationships with credit unions, the company held a stock sale in 1997 and sold 51% of its shares to credit unions and the Wisconsin league. The CUSO is now 72% owned by the league and primarily Wisconsin credit unions, as well as two CUs in Illinois – Du Page CU, Naperville, and Sherwin Williams Employees CU, South Holland. Over the last nine years, the CUSO has evolved to the form most credit unions associate it with now. In 1997, it started out with three lines of business – a mortgage company in Central States Mortgage; a title company in Premier Title; and an insurance and financial services subsidiary in Central States Insurance and Financial Services. CSMC, Inc. now also includes a real estate brokerage company for residential real estate, Homesale Realty; an affiliate that sells and leases commercial real estate, Equity Commercial Real Estate; an auto leasing and sales subsidiary, CU Fleet; Direct Mortgage Funding, that does wholesale and correspondent lending operations; and Interstate Financial, a retail, subprime lending operation.

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