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Firm Abandons Mortgage Lending for Energy

Freedom Financial Mortgage closing operations

Nov. 17, 2009

By staff

An Indiana-based firm is closing its mortgage originations business to focus on energy in the Middle East. More than 100 loss-mitigation employees are impacted from the decision.

Freedom Financial Mortgage Corp. will end mortgage operations on Dec. 31, an announcement from Freedom Financial Holdings Inc. today indicated. The board approved an authorization to divest ownership in the 12-year-old subsidiary.

Major mortgage industry changes have left the once viable company in an unprofitable business model, Freedom Financial Chief Executive Officer Brian Kistler said in the statement. The CEO also blamed rising regulatory compliance for the decision to exit real estate finance.

Kistler explained that the Fort Wayne, Ind., parent will focus on the energy sector.

"The name and most likely the symbol of the company will be changing to reflect this narrowed focus into the energy sector," Kistler stated in today's news release. "This will be done in the near future once we have returned from our travels to Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries."

Last year, Freedom Financial announced that its Freedom Mortgage Resolutions Inc. subsidiary had successfully negotiated a settlement for around 60 percent of the cases it handled. The unit also negotiates re-writing note terms and modifications as well as forebearance agreements, short payoffs, deeds-in-lieu and keys for cash.

Freedom Mortgage Resolutions reportedly operates with more than 100 mortgage professionals in 16 states.

A Freedom Financial spokesman confirmed today that the foreclosure business is also closing. He didn't immediately know, however, how many other employees were impacted.

The parent had indicated in June 2008 that its foreclosure prevention counseling business was expected to increase revenues by more than $60 million this year.

Stephen F. Ornstein, a partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood in New York, told in March 2007 that it was odd timing for a public offering planned by Freedom Financial at the time.

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