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Failed, closed and a c q u i r e d mortgage-related entities.

Chase Closes Warehouse Unit

Operations were acquired from WaMu last year

February 24, 2009

By staff

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has shut down a warehouse lending division. While the move impacts relatively few employees, it comes at a time when many mortgage bankers are struggling to find financing for new originations.

The New York-based institution has decided to discontinue its warehouse lending product, a spokesman told in a statement today.

"It does not fit our long-term strategy," the statement said.

Chase acquired the warehouse operation from Washington Mutual in the Spring of last year. Chase subsequently acquired most of the assets of WaMu on Sept. 25 after the Office of Thrift Supervision closed the Seattle-based thrift.

The spokesman indicated that the warehouse unit had only eight active clients.

Around two dozen employees are impacted by the decision.

In January, Chase abandoned its mortgage broker business.

The departure of the Chase's warehouse operations is a further blow to third-party originations and comes as small- to mid-sized mortgage bankers are struggling to find additional warehouse lines.

NetMore America Inc. notified its third-party customers on Thursday that demand had exceeded its lending capacity, and it would delay the funding of some wholesale refinance transactions.

Realty Mortgage Corp. suspended operations and filed for bankruptcy nearly two weeks ago after it lost a $200 million line-of-credit.

Mortgage Bankers Association President and Chief Executive Officer John A. Courson testified to lawmakers earlier this month that many of the trade group's independent members have been hamstrung from the lack of available warehouse lines-of-credit from commercial banks. He explained that warehouse lenders are either restricting existing warehouse lines, terminating the lines or going out of business.

"For the originator that depends solely on warehouse lines-of-credit, this reduction could reduce liquidity, extinguish their lending business, and adversely impact the consumers in their market, stifling the real estate recovery before it has a chance to get off the ground," Courson stated.

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