With a small amount of capital, Laurance Eustis, Jr. and his brother-in-law, William D. Galbreath of Memphis, founded Canal Mortgage in 1956 as an adjunct to the 10-year-old Eustis General Insurance Agency. The Company’s first success was to acquire a sizable servicing portfolio of loans owned by Guardian Life Insurance. Guardian Life correctly predicted the boom in garden apartments in suburban locations throughout the country. The Company and Guardian were able to capitalize on Guardian’s foresight.
In 1959, the name of the Company was changed to Laurance Eustis Mortgage Corporation (LEMC). The company produced single-family and loans secured by apartments. Beginning in 1960 with The Life Insurance Company of Georgia (now ING Investment Management), LEMC established correspondence with a number of companies, including Life Casualty of Tennessee (now American General), that are still thriving 40 years later.
Laurence (Larry) Eustis, III joined the Company in 1968 after serving in the US Navy and as an aid to US House of Representatives Majority Whip Hale Boggs. The Company began focusing on solely on income property loans and the servicing portfolio began to grow.
The Company continued to expand, and in 1976 returned to the single-family loan business just as Robert Eustis joined the firm. Larry ran the income property operations, while and Robert ran the single-family operations. LEMC expanded in the early 1980s and by 1986 it employed 96 people in both divisions, commercial and residential.
Operating in the south Louisiana region, LEMC was hit very hard by the oil and gas bust starting in during the late 1980s. The Company made the changes that were necessary to survive and returned to profitability in 1989. The Company remained committed to the mortgage business and acquired a branch officer in Leesville, LA. in February of 1990. By that time the regional economy had stabilized, and the Company began resuming its growth.
In the 1990′s the Company, now renamed Eustis Mortgage Corporation, experienced many excellent years, closing record levels of income property and single-family loans.
In 2004, the Company spun off the commercial division into Eustis Commercial Mortgage Corporation. Larry continued to run that division.
In 2007, Larry Eustis retired, and Larry and Robert sold controlling interest in Eustis Commercial Mortgage. Also in early 2007, Kate deKay, Robert’s daughter, joined the Company and started learning the business from the bottom. Kate is now Vice President and Branch Manager of the company’s branch in Metairie, LA.
As of 2012 the Company has production offices in New Orleans, Metairie, Mandeville, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Denham Springs, Bossier City, and Deridder, LA, and Gulfport, MS.