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Firm Hiring Displaced LOs, AEs

Recent mergers, acquisitions & corporate activity

April 24, 2007

By COCO SALAZAR


photo of Coco Salazar

A growing Nevada-based company is hiring laid off originators and account executives. Meanwhile, a Midwest bank is looking to unload more than $40 million in residential loans and restructure its balance sheet.

Mark F. Furlong has succeeded retiring Dennis J. Kuester as the chief executive officer of Marshall & Ilsley Corp. and he will also serve as the CEO of M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank, according to an announcement. Kuester will remain as chairman of the board.

On April 30, former Republic Bank locations will formally open under the Citizens Bank name, according to an announcement Friday. The name change is the final step in the December 2006 merger in which Citizens Banking Corp. acquired Republic Bancorp Inc. to create Citizens Republic Bancorp, reportedly the 43rd-largest holding company in the country.

The New York Stock Exchange will delist New Century Financial Corp.'s stock on April 27, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Untimely financial statements and inability to meet current debt obligations or adequately finance operations were among the reasons for delisting, the filing suggested. The notice comes after the NYSE suspended the bankrupt Irvine, Calif.-based company's listing on March 13.

Also in Irvine, Impac Mortgage Holding Inc. announced that it reached a preliminary agreement to settle pending federal and state derivative actions. The settlement calls for all claims asserted against Impac's officers and directors to be dismissed with prejudice with no admission of wrongdoing on the part of any defendant. Additionally, Impac will agree to certain corporate governance practices and pay up to $300,000 in attorney's fees through its insurance carriers.

"The settlement of these derivative lawsuits are a positive step towards resolving the issues and will allow us to continue to focus our time and efforts on creating value for our stockholders," Impac said in the announcement.

Capital One Financial Corp. revised its earnings guidance for 2007 to between $7.00 and $7.40 per share from its previous guidance of $7.40 to $7.80, largely to reflect revised expectations for its mortgage banking business, which posted a $12.6 million net loss in the first quarter partly due to a $19.0 million addition to the reserve related to representations and warranties and a $21.0 million warehouse valuation adjustment, according to a press release.

"Assuming no improvement in the unusually weak conditions now present in the secondary market for non-conforming prime mortgage loans, including Alt-A, we expect that reduced volumes and margins would result in our mortgage banking business delivering no incremental earnings for the balance of 2007," said Gary L. Perlin, Capital One chief financial officer, in the statement.

Houston-based OmniBank recently became a full-service banker in San Antonio after having run a loan-processing-only office there for about a year. The lender is studying sites for further banking presence in the city, according to information e-mailed by Joe Gordon, OmniBank commercial lending vice president in San Antonio, to MortgageDaily.com.

Synechron, which provides software solutions and services to mortgage bankers and other financial services providers, acquired 110 Technologies, a high-end financial services consulting firm, according to a press release. Synechron's first acquisition ever will help it expand its business in the capital markets industry. Since the acquisition, Synechron has already added a major U.S.-based investment bank to its client list.

Bank of America Corp. has agreed to pay $21 million to buy ABN AMRO North America Holding Co. in a deal expected to close in late 2007 or early 2008. The merger with the LaSalle Bank Corp. parent will create a leading banking franchise in metropolitan Chicago, mark BoA's retail branch entry in Michigan, where it will be the largest bank, and expand BoA's presence in Indiana.

"In LaSalle, we see a compelling opportunity to fill in a key gap in our national franchise and build relationships with thousands of new customers," BoA said. "LaSalle customers will share in the most extensive retail franchise in the nation."

Lincoln Bancorp is selling around $44 million in residential mortgages as part of a restructuring, company announced Monday. As a result of reclassification of the loans, the Plainfield, Ind.-based company marked the loans to market value -- causing a $1.3 million loss.

Amid growing originations, mortgage branch network Shearson Home Loans has applied to almost double its warehouse banking capacity of over $20 million, parent Shearson Financial Network Inc. said on Thursday. The additional line sought is part of the Las Vegas-based parent's plan to expand loan volume banked through the loan center.

"Our company is experiencing strong growth due to an aggressive recruitment program following a first quarter that saw many of the industry originators depart the business," the parent said in an announcement. "We are facilitating a home for many of the displaced loan officers and wholesale account personnel within Shearson and welcome their business."

Shearson, which says it is a "consolidator of independent mortgage brokerages," announced today it is negotiating a joint venture with Sterling Eagle subsidiary Warehouse One -- which reportedly enabled its mortgage banking customers to fund more than $1.2 billion last year.


Coco Salazar is an associate editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.

e-mail: [email protected]


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