New business unites familiar faces for local mortgage company

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

With experience and friendship, five local residents are finding success with a new business.

Minn-State Mortgage, a locally owned and operated company, is hoping to find its niche in the community and eventually throughout the state.

Minn-State Mortgage helps clients find the best interest rates for financial decisions such as a mortgage loans or debt consolidation.

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Minn-State employees are called originators and work with lenders throughout the country to find the best financial packages for their clients.

"They basically take the work out of it for the customer," Minn-State President Mark Mueller said.

Mueller decided he wanted to move back to his hometown and quit his job as director of traditional lending at TCF Bank in the Twin Cities to start Minn-State Mortgage.

Mueller's brother-in-law, Tom Tauchnitz, is vice president of the company. Sheila Tolbert, Tim Lau and Michael Talamantes work as originators in Austin. Charlie Brown works in their Rochester office. The company also has an office in the Twin Cities.

The company opened at the beginning of July and so far business is going well, they said.

"We're getting a warm reception from people in the community," Tauchnitz said. "We're busy right now."

Tauchnitz said he alone has 13 loans he's working on, which is more than he expected to be handling at this point.

With interest rates being so low, refinancing, debt consolidation and applying for mortgage loans are quite common.

"It's hot. It's really hot," Tauchnitz said.

But the company realizes the demand for these services will not be as high once the interest rate increases.

"Obviously, that's not going to last forever either and the goal is to build some relationships in town with realtors," Tauchnitz said.

Tolbert and Talamantes have experienced working in the community for a number of years. Tolbert has worked in the mortgage business for 17 years and Talamantes has worked in it for seven years.

Talamantes is able to offer his bilingual skills to attract clients who speak Spanish. Although he doesn't work solely with Spanish-speaking clients, the company thinks this will help them reach a market that hasn't been serviced in Austin.

"It helps them because they can totally communicate," Talamantes said.

Minn-State is flexible with customers over when and where they want to meet. They also help clients with varied credit backgrounds, whether they have a stellar credit rating or are struggling with debt.

"We service all customers," Mueller said.

Tolbert said they work as a team. Along with Brown, the group has a combined experience of 70 years in banking, lending and mortgages.

"We have a really great group of people here," Tolbert said. "It's so fun."

Minn-State Mortgage, located at 101 Eighth St. NW, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend appointments can be scheduled as well. For more information call (507) 434-3200.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at