In another move to ramp up its services to affluent and high-net-worth clients, Bank of the West has formed a team dedicated to helping its wealthiest customers with their personal real estate lending needs. The team includes private mortgage bankers, product development and underwriting professionals as well as loan processing staff, the San Francisco-based bank announced.

“We know having experts available to talk about the changing mortgage market is especially important for our affluent and high-net-worth clients, who often have complex real estate financing situations,” John Bahnken, head of Bank of the West’s Wealth Management Group and senior executive vice president, said in an e-mail message.

The team of nearly 20 private mortgage bankers, underwriters and supporting professionals is based in five strategic markets that account for more than 75% of the bank’s jumbo mortgage originations, according to the bank. It expects to grow the team “over the next year and into the future,” said Bahnken.

“Clients need an experienced guide to help them understand their options and ensure their application process is smooth even when dealing with the complexities of this evolving market,” Karen Mayfield, senior vice president who leads the private mortgage banker distribution team, said in a statement.

Clients will be able to access the private mortgage banking team through the bank’s network of relationship managers called private client advisors or PCAs. These individuals are the primary point of contact for clients, bringing together all the wealth management experts their clients need.

The PCAs were introduced last year as part of new service approach to deliver broader wealth management services to affluent and high-net-worth individuals. The bank also opened five wealth management office centers for the exclusive use of its wealthiest clients as part of the new service strategy. Three additional client centers are slated to open this year, the bank said.

Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. It has nearly 200,000 employees.