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Reverse Lenders Among Mortgage Firms Acquired

Recent mergers and acquisitions

Feb. 21, 2014

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

portrait of Sam Garcia

Among several mortgage company acquisitions that have recently closed are three reverse mortgage companies. A servicer and a commercial mortgage lender also changed owners.

Prospect Mortgage LLC said last month that it completed the acquisition of 16-year-old The Diamond Mortgage Group LLC.

Diamond was co-founded by Diane H. DeLauro and Sandra A. Montanari. It will handle Connecticut originations for Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Prospect.

A Feb. 2 announcement indicated that Seneca Mortgage Investments LP closed on its acquisition of AMS Servicing. The seller in the transaction was Arbor Commercial Mortgage LLC.

AMS acquired mortgage servicing rights on $9.7 billion in loans during the prior 90 days with financing from Seneca.

The merger between Caliber Funding LLC and Caliber Home Loans Inc. -- two companies owned by Lone Star Funds -- was announced last year. The combined unit operates as Caliber Home Loans Inc.

Reverse Mortgage USA was acquired by American Advisors Group. Austin, Texas-based Reverse Mortgage USA, which was founded in 2002 by John Mitchell, reports that is has closed more than 8,000 reverse mortgages.

Another reverse mortgage lender, Urban Financial Group LLC, was acquired in December by UFG Holdings LLC, a company controlled by Walter Investment Management Corp. Chief Strategy Officer Brian Libman. Walter invested $15 million in the deal. Urban now operates as Urban Financial of America.

Certain assets of Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Surety Financial Services were acquired by Wintrust Financial Corp. on Oct. 1, 2013. Surety was founded in 1994 and provides origination services in Southern California. Terms of the transaction wasn't disclosed.

Earlier this month, Horizon Bancorp reported that it had reached an agreement to purchase all of the assets of 1st Mortgage of Indiana Inc. The deal, which also includes the assumption of some liabilities, is all cash and expected to close by March 10.

Indianapolis-based 1st Mortgage is a single-location firm founded in 1994. The companies owners, Cathy and Michael Strawn, will stay on to lead Central Indiana mortgage operations for the parent of Horizon Bank.

In the commercial mortgage sector, Pillar Financial LLC acquired Cohen Financial late last year. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, and no staffing changes are expected.

Other acquisitions that were completed last year are noted in the following table.

Acquired Company Acquired by Date of Acquisition
Avenue Mortgage Corp. CIB Marine Bancshares Inc. 2013
Gorman & Gorman Enterprise Financial Services May 2013
Matrix Financial Services Two Harbors May 2013
Security One Lending Walter Investment Management Corp. May 2013
Shelter Mortgage LLC CIVC Partners January 2013
Vericrest Financial Inc. Caliber Funding LLC June 2013

Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Prior to his news career he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

[email protected]

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