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Investors Sink $300 Million in Struggling Warehouse Lender

Taylor,Bean leads investment in Colonial BancGroup

April 1, 2009

By staff

Taylor, Bean & Whitaker is leading a $300 million investment in a struggling financial institution that operates a warehouse lending business.

An announcement yesterday from Colonial BancGroup indicated it had signed a definitive agreement for a group of investors led by Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor, Bean to make a $300 million equity investment in Colonial. The transaction will give the group a 75 percent interest in the Montgomery, Ala.-based firm.

Colonial operates 351 bank branches throughout the Southeast, Nevada and Texas. It reports approximately $26 billion in assets. Last month, it was labeled as one of the 50 riskiest large U.S. commercial banks by RBC Capital Markets. Moody's Investors Service announced this month negative ratings actions were taken on Colonial as a result of its exposure to commercial real estate.

It also operates a warehouse business based in Orlando, Fla., that finances residential originations. Colonial generated warehouse fees of $5 million last year, tumbling from $22 million in 2007 as a result of its discontinuing sales of assets to conduits in January 2008.

The deal, which has been unanimously approved by Colonial's board of directors, is subject to regulatory approval and other conditions. Taylor, Bean -- which claims to be "one of the largest independent mortgage companies in the United States" -- has agreed to seek regulatory approval on the applicability of Regulation W to its existing relationships with Colonial.

In addition, the deal requires regulatory approval for the U.S. Treasury to purchase preferred shares equal to 3 percent of Colonial's risk weighed assets under the Troubled Asset Relief Program's capital purchase plan. It also requires Colonial's conversion to a federal savings and loan association.

The modified entity would be regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision, which already regulates Taylor Bean through its ownership of Platinum Community Bancshares in Meadows, Ill.

"This transaction should strengthen our financial position and allow Colonial to continue to offer its customers high quality banking services," Colonial Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Robert E. Lowder said in the statement.

Colonial agreed to pay a $10 million termination fee if it finds a better deal elsewhere or if it doesn't satisfy other conditions.

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