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

Calif. Wholesaler Closes

Fortes closes all operations

November 24, 2008

By staff

Former wholesale lending employees of National City Mortgage were ecstatic when another company acquired much of the operation following its closure in the summer of 2007. Now those same employees are faced with the second closing of the unit.

Fortes Financial Inc. was launched from Laguna Hills, Calif., in August 2007 by President and Chief Executive Officer Peter J. Levasseur and Chief Operating Officer Janice M. Ibey.

After acquiring a significant portion of National City Bank's wholesale mortgage unit earlier this year, subsidiary Fortes Residential Mortgage Co. was launched with both a retail and a wholesale platform.

At the time, Fortes Financial boasted a staff of more than 400 employees operating from five regional wholesale operations centers, three retail banking offices and eight reverse mortgage branches.

The acquisition of National City's wholesale operation came after it was shut down in August 2007.

"I believe we are in a market that is significantly oversold which has, and will continue for a period of time, to provide Fortes the opportunity to acquire mortgage origination assets at little or no premium," Levasseur said at the time.

Today, Fortes Financial said it will wind down operations.

"After careful thought and consideration, the board of directors of Fortes Financial Inc. has decided to wind down operations of the company and its divisions as of Nov. 24, 2008," a statement on the company's Web site today said.

The statement went on to say that no new loan applications will be accepted.

In addition, loans currently in the pipeline will not be funded, the statement said.

"We regret having to take this action and the disruption it may cause the parties involved," Fortes said. "We want to sincerely thank you for your business and wish you all the best in your future business endeavors.

"We are committed to making this process as smooth as possible."

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