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1st Met Converting to Mortgage Banker

Acquisition by Hestia Financial to enable mortgage broker recruitment

May 20, 2009

By MortgageDaily.com staff

With the potential imposition of limitations on yield spread premiums and limitations imposed by the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, 1st Metropolitan Mortgage said now is the perfect time to evolve from a mortgage broker to a mortgage banker as it is acquired by a Dallas-based firm. Once the deal is done, 1st Metropolitan plans a recruitment campaign for mortgage brokers.

The Charlotte, N.C., said today that it expects to receive regulatory approval to become a subsidiary of Mirad Financial Group with 120 days. The merger with the Hestia Financial subsidiary was reported seven days ago by MortgageDaily.com.

Mirad will relocate its headquarters to North Carolina as part of the transaction.

The move is part of 1st Metropolitan's strategy to become a mortgage banker as its branches transition from mortgage brokering to retail mortgage banking, the statement said.

"We started positioning our company to make the transition from a broker to a direct lender last year," 1st Metropolitan President Daniel H. Jacobs said in the statement. "The timing is perfect given the implementation of HVCC, the current House bill potentially limiting yield spread premiums and the myriad state and federal regulations making it harder to continue brokering."

Still, 1st Metropolitan, which said 2008 originations were $1.8 billion, acknowledged that it will still need to broker some loans. This year's production is on track to come in at least as strong as last year.

Despite the recent closing of 111 lower producing branches, 1st Metropolitan said it plans to substantially expand its recruiting efforts.

"We believe there is an enormous market to convert the best mortgage brokers to mortgage lenders in 2009," Jacobs added.

Mirad Chief Executive Officer Steve Kaplan said in the statement that the company is open to additional expansion opportunities.

1st Metropolitan Sale
As it closes branches, reduces headcount and battles litigation in three states, 1st Metropolitan Mortgage has agreed to be acquired by a Texas firm.

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