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1st Metro Acquisition Boosts Branches to 250

Olympia founder touts sales leadership

July 26, 2005

By MortgageDaily.com staff

Two net branch operations hope their merger will capitalize on the back office strength of one and the sales leadership of the other.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Olympia Funding has sold 48 retail branches to 1st Metropolitan Mortgage, according to an announcement Monday.

The acquiring company will reportedly provide Olympia offices with full branch support, including licensing and compliance.

At a two-day introduction in which 135 Olympia Funding branch employees met with 1st Metro senior staff and branch managers, Olympia founder William Hogarty explained he was beginning to spend more time on licensing requirements, which cut into his time coaching originators to reach their full potential, 1st Metro reported.

"The marrying of the two companies' retail branches is perfect because of the different strengths we bring to the table," Hogarty said in the announcement. "What I do best is sales and helping originators grow their business and 1st Metropolitan is really strong in operations and compliance."

Charlotte, N.C.-based 1st Metro reportedly outsources all nonrevenue generating activities to the corporate office in order to allow originators at branches focus on optimizing sales.

"1st Metropolitan has an opportunity to expand and continue to enforce the tenant that we live by: we work harder at the home office to allow mortgage entrepreneurs to do what they do best, sell loans and create relationships," said 1st Metro CEO Daniel Jacobs in the announcement.

Olympia, which had loan volume of $3 billion in 2003 and specializes in assisting first-time and credit-challenged borrowers, will continue operations as a wholesale lender in 10 states and as a contract processing firm for other mortgage brokers across the country, 1st Metro reported. Olympia reportedly offered conventional and government-sponsored brokered loans through its national retail branches and direct lending services in select markets.

The Olympia transaction follows 1st Metro's acquisition of 71 NovaStar branches last November. The subsidiary of Empire Equity Group subsidiary has approximately 250 branches nationwide, according to the announcement.

"Our scalable back office infrastructure will allow us to expand to 500 branches without experiencing the pains normally associated with rapid growth," Jacobs added.

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