MONROE, La. -- Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Benchmark Bank Chairman and CEO Mike Barnett, Affiliated Mortgage Co. President Dan Hastings and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo to announce Benchmark Bank's subsidiary, Affiliated Mortgage Co., or AMC, of West Monroe, La., has committed to retain and expand its operations in Northeast Louisiana.

Benchmark Bank originally considered moving AMC operations to another state to accommodate the expansion, but the company decided to stay and grow in the Monroe area. To accommodate AMC's expansion, Benchmark Bank has purchased a new, larger building in Monroe, and AMC will move into its new location in February 2011. This project will create 137 new direct jobs, retain 41 existing jobs and generate more than $2 million capital investment. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the 137 new direct jobs will result in approximately 80 new indirect jobs, and will generate $6.1 million in new, state tax revenues and $1.9 million in new, local tax revenues over the next 10 years.
"This is great news for Northeast Louisiana and our entire state," said Gov. Jindal. "Again and again, thanks to innovative economic development efforts and our pro-business economic reforms, companies are committing to stay and grow in Louisiana rather than expand in other states. As a result, Louisiana's economy continues to outperform the South and U.S. by significant margins. And that's why business retention and expansion efforts will remain our top economic development priority."
"Benchmark Bank/AMC is happy to be in Monroe and we look forward to growing this business there," said Barnett. "The state of Louisiana has provided great economic incentives to keep the business there and the purchase of this new building ensures that we will be in Monroe for a long time."
"We are all very excited about this new building," said Hastings. "Our group used to occupy the building, so it will be the perfect setup for our business. We love Monroe and have a great relationship with the city and the state."
"The city council and I are once again proud to have another company come to Monroe," said Mayo. "We appreciate Gov. Jindal and LED for working with Affiliated Mortgage to retain jobs in our area in addition to creating 137 new direct jobs and 80 new indirect jobs."
To secure the expansion, LED offered its Quality Jobs program, which provides a 5 percent to 6 percent payroll rebate for each qualifying new job, and also provides certain sales tax rebates for capital expenditures for up to 10 years.