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Ex-Panthers Player Relocating Mortgage Company From Virginia To S.C.; Charlotte To Lose 200 Jobs

Courtesy of Movement Mortgage

A mortgage company co-owned by a former Carolinas Panthers player is moving its headquarters from Virginia to Lancaster County, a plan that for Charlotte will mean the loss of about 200 jobs to South Carolina.

Movement Mortgage announced Thursday that it will relocate its Virginia Beach headquarters and receive $53 million in tax incentives from South Carolina in exchange for creating more than 650 jobs in Indian Land. The company said it will consolidate the 200 Charlotte jobs to the new headquarters location.

Movement plans to spend $22 million to build its two-story, 104,000-square-foot facility in Bailes Ridge Business Park on Highway 160. Construction on the headquarters is set to begin in March.

Casey Crawford, a 37-year-old former Panthers tight end who launched his mortgage company in 2008, said he is not expecting any job losses from the headquarters shift. The Charlotte employees who will be relocated to the new headquarters are currently working in Ballantyne Corporate Park, he said.

Crawford said the relocation comes as his company, which makes and services mortgage loans, moves ahead with an aggressive growth strategy designed to make it a bigger mortgage player in the U.S.

In explaining why the headquarters is moving from Virginia, Crawford said Charlotte is already the second-largest employment hub for the company. Crawford, who has been based in Charlotte since the company’s founding, also pointed to the region’s strong pool of financial services talent from which his company can make hires.

The final decision to move to South Carolina was heavily influenced by the state’s incentives package, he said.

“Once we settled on the Charlotte region, really the willingness and the engagement of the state of South Carolina and the governor’s office to collaboratively work with us on a plan to bring jobs to South Carolina was one of the major factors in the decision-making process,” Crawford said.

The relocation represents the latest corporate defection from Charlotte to South Carolina. Last summer, Lash Group and LPL Financial announced that they were jumping the state line.

Lash, a health care consulting company, said it would consolidate operations spread across several Charlotte sites into a new headquarters in Fort Mill, where it would employ employ 1,200. LPL, a financial services firm, also said it would move from Charlotte to Fort Mill, relocating about 1,000 employees.

“It’s a great day in South Carolina when we can welcome a company like Movement Mortgage to our state,” S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement.

North Carolina economic development officials have long battled with South Carolina and other states with aggressive incentive programs. To help attract more companies, the North Carolina legislature last year lowered corporate income taxes and created a new public-private partnership to oversee business recruitment.

But the state House in August rejected a bill to create a $20 million job recruitment fund and expanded the state’s Job Development Investment Grant program, which awards firms based on the number of new jobs they create.

Crawford said he spoke with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory when he was looking for a new home for Movement Mortgage’s headquarters.

“He said he really hoped we would work hard to stay in the city of Charlotte ... and they were going to do everything they could to put together an economic incentive package to help us do that,” Crawford said.

Crawford said he could not recall the details of the incentives package North Carolina was prepared to offer Movement Mortgage.

“I think he offered us what he was able to offer us,” Crawford said. “It wasn’t competitive with South Carolina, for sure.”