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Credit Suisse Closes Wholesaler Unit

LIME Financial ends operations

December 5, 2008

By MortgageDaily.com staff


The wholesale lending subsidiary of Credit Suisse has told mortgage brokers that it is done doing business. The move is part of a strategy to lay off more than 5,000 employees.

The news went out by e-mail today from LIME Financial Services Ltd.

"LIME is closing its business and is no longer open to accept mortgage loan applications," a message from the Lake Oswego, Ore.-based firm stated.

Loans that are already locked must closed by Jan. 16, 2009, according to the note. Floating loans must be locked prior to closing.

"LIME will continue to process such mortgage loans -- 'pipeline loans' -- in accordance with its existing procedures, provided that we will not fund or close any approved pipeline loan beyond Jan. 16, 2009."

LIME was acquired by Credit Suisse USA in October 2007.

At acquisition, the firm was headed by D. Fred Baldwin -- who previously founded Trillium Mortgage, before it was acquired by First Franklin, and Meritage Mortgage, before it was sold to NetBank and subsequently shut down in November 2006.

The current CEO of LIME is Alexander 'Zan' Hamilton, who joined the lender in 2003 and previously served as an Executive Vice President of Credit Suisse First Boston Capital Service Group.

At the time of Credit Suisse's acquisition, Lime said it was an eight-year-old subprime wholesaler originating more than $2 billion a year nationally through 150 account executives.

Today's move follows an announcement yesterday from Zurich, Switzerland, that Credit Suisse would accelerate implementation of a strategic plan, substantially reduce risk and cut its cost base. That strategy involves an 11 percent headcount reduction, or 5,300 layoffs.

Credit Suisse estimates it had a $2.5 billion loss during the fiscal fourth-quarter ended Nov. 30.

Officials from Lime and Credit Suisse did not respond to a request from MortgageDaily.com for more information.

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