Huntington Capital Markets hires a Michigan muni banking team

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Ohio-based Huntington Capital Markets Inc. is making a greater banking push into Michigan as part of its post-Hutchinson Shockey acquisition strategy.

The new team that started earlier this summer includes Lou Orcutt, a managing director and general government banker who will head up public finance in Michigan from a Detroit office.

The expansion helps the bank cover large and small issuers across a state in which the commercial bank has a long history, said Huntington head of public finance Ryan Kozak.

The other members of the team are Craig Kahler, a managing director who specializes in school district financing and will work from a Lansing office; Max Hotchkin, a director who specializes in schools and government financings and will be based in Grand Rapids; and Alex Vollmers, an associate director who is a schools and government banker and will be based in Detroit.

The additions will help the bank cover large and small school and government issuers across a state in which the commercial bank has a long history, said head of public finance Ryan Kozak, who is based in Cleveland.

“Because of the long history of the bank in Michigan we have clients and branches across the state so bringing on a team that has people in Lansing and Detroit really helps us to meet the needs of the bank,” he said. “We are really trying to service the existing footprint and build on the good work of our commercial government bankers….to bring a full suite of services” to the table.

The new team covers the gamut of large governmental issuers as well as school districts and local governments, Kozak said.

“We’re always looking for talented bankers that fit our culture of collaboration — and Lou, Craig, Max and Alex have a great reputation in their market. We’re very happy they chose Huntington,” Kozak said.

The four come from Hilltop Securities Inc. where they had worked since in 2018. They previously were at Fifth Third Securities. Kozak said Huntington had recently parted ways with two existing bankers and support staff that worked out of a St. Clair Shores office as the firm “made a decision to go in a different direction.”

Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares Inc. acquired the Chicago-based municipal shop Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. in 2018. For Huntington, it expanded its scale and on-the-ground public finance reach and for Hutchinson Shockey it offered a bank’s balance sheet with credit, loan and private placement products as well as depository and treasury management on the table.

Following the acquisition, the bank formed a new division — government and non-profit finance — with all personnel that deal with public sector clients assigned there. The division includes four groups that cover government banking, institutional government and non-profit services for large clients, public finance, and municipal sales and trading.

Tom Dannenberg, who had led Hutchinson Shockey, is head of the government and non-profit finance division. Kozak, a five year veteran of the bank and senior managing director, serves as chief operating office of the division and is head of the public finance.

Huntington’s government and non-profit finance groups have 71 employees across public finance, municipal sales and trading, government banking and institutional government and nonprofit banking. They work in 12 offices in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin.

At the time of the merger, Hutchinson Shockey brought 51 professionals to the team with those ranks including sales, underwriting, trading, analytical, and banking professionals as well as administrative and operations. The firm then also had several offices out west. The firm, which opened shop in Chicago in 1957, was solely focused on municipals.

The strategy since the acquisition has been to build on the existing bank footprint and offer a full range of services to public sector clients through new hires and expanded capabilities to compete with bigger broker-dealers.

While some bankers have been shed or left since the acquisition, the bank said it has added several higher education bankers. Veteran transportation banking specialist Bob Walsh joined the firm last year in Chicago to lead its transportation efforts. The bank has its eye on further additions in those areas as well as an expansion of its overall healthcare practice with the additional of a public finance banking team.

Huntington ranks 25th nationally so far this year and ranked 20th last year, according to Refinitiv data. It ranks 19th so far this year in the Midwest and 7th in Michigan and was ranked 12th in the Midwest last year and 11th in Michigan.

Hutchinson Shockey had ranked 34th among senior managers by volume nationally when the acquisition was announced in 2018 and finished 31st the prior year.

In the Midwest, it ranked 20th so far that year and finished the previous year at 26th. Huntington ranked 57th so far that year nationally and finished 64th the prior year. In the Midwest, it ranked 32nd so far that year and finished 42nd the prior year.

The firm has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic internally and how it works with clients.

“Huntington quickly moved to a remote working environment back in March, making the necessary technological upgrades to ensure smooth operations across all our lines of business,” Kozak said. “Our client-facing bankers are still very active in their markets and continue to meet the needs of the public sector every day during these very challenging times. Despite the environment, we continue to invest in our municipal capabilities, and have been adding staff selectively throughout the year.”

Several Hilltop financial advisors remain in Michigan and the firm said additions are planned there and elsewhere in the Midwest in the coming months.

“We currently maintain productive offices in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio and anticipate our Midwest footprint to grow as opportunities are located and evaluated. We had a few bankers in Michigan move on to seek other opportunities, which is not uncommon in this business,” Hilltop’s head of public finance David Medanich said in a statement.

Aaron Weitzman contributed to this story.

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