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Lehman Unit Stops New Business

Small Business Finance unit stops accepting new apps

July 9, 2008

By staff

Another Lehman Brothers mortgage unit has halted new business. This time around, commercial lending was impacted. In all, more than 3,500 employees at Lehman mortgage units have been laid off since last summer.

Lehman Brothers Small Business Finance has stopped accepting loan applications, a notice posted on its Web site today states.

"Small Business Finance, a division of Lehman Brothers Bank FSB, is an originator, purchaser, servicer and seller of small balance commercial mortgage loans," Lehman spokesman Randall Whitestone said in a statement to "The division operates as a direct lender, specializing in owner-occupied multi-purpose properties."

Whitestone declined to say how many mortgage employees were impacted by the move.

Commercial real estate loans of up to $5 million "and even beyond" were available, according to the Web site.

Among programs previously offered by the Lake Forest, Calif.-based unit were Alt-A loans up to $2 million at 90 percent loan-to-value on owner-occupied purchases. That program didn't require tax returns or financial statements for borrowers with 660 average credit scores, who occupied at least 25 percent of the space and had been in business at least 2 years.

Lehman subsidiary Aurora Loan Services stopped accepting new business from mortgage brokers and correspondent lenders in January. The move at Aurora -- which said it offered a full line of conforming agency products, Alt-A programs and jumbo loans to $2 million -- resulted in 1,300 layoffs.

In September 2007, Lehman announced it restructured its mortgage units, laying off 850 employees in the process. That announcement said Aurora would begin operating under the name Lehman Mortgage Capital.

Lehman shut down subprime wholesale subsidiary BNC Mortgage LLC in August 2007, resulting in 1,200 layoffs and the closing of 23 offices. That unit had restructured in June in a move that resulted in 400 layoffs.

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