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Alt-A Company Done

United Equity closes down in October

November 13, 2007

By PATRICK CROWLEY


photo of Patrick Crowley

A Maryland mortgage company that reportedly specialized in Alt-A programs and employed 200 people as of last year has been driven out of business by a dried up secondary market.

United Equity LLC, a mortgage broker operating out of the Baltimore area, has shut down.

The company closed in late October after monthly loan volume dropped from more than 150 a month to about 60, loan officer Joe Zuramski told MortgageDaily.com.

"It was a good company ... but it is closing up," Zuramski said. "Everybody (in the industry) is way off on loan volume. It finally took a toll here."

Company President Julie C. Martin did not respond to a request for a comment. The company's Web site is not accessible and its phones do not appear to be connected or taking calls.

Hundreds of mortgage brokerages and thousands of jobs have been lost in the subprime mortgage collapse. Zuramski said he did not work in the subprime end of United Equity's business but he does not believe those types of loans made up a huge part of the company's loan volume.

Instead, the company went under when the market for Alt-A loans dried up.

Once that happened, the company couldn't stay afloat, he said.

"When the Alt-A went away," Zuramski said, "so did the company."

United Equity had about 200 employees last year but lost about half its work force through attrition -- employees leaving as business slowed -- and what Zuramski described as a "small layoff" earlier this year.

United Equity's loan origination amounts could not be verified. A business tracking Web site, HiAnswer.com, listed the company's "sales" at $14.8 million, but there is no explanation of what that figure specifically refers to.

The company had been hiring -- though it is not clear when - through ads posted on Internet jobs sites such as Monster.com and Yahoo Hot Jobs.

On Yahoo, the company described itself as a company funded "by leading mortgage professionals in the area" that "will allow you to excel financially and personally."

On Monster.com, United Equity was looking for workers to fill several positions, including loan analysts, net branch partners, managers, senior loan processors, loan data coordinators and more.

"United Equity will reward you with the financial and career success you desire," the company said it is want ad. "Best of all, you'll have the peace of mind that your success is imminent because you've made the right choice."


Patrick Crowley is a feature journalist and blogger for MortgageDaily.com. He is also a reporter, blogger and columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer.
e-mail Patrick at: [email protected]

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