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Dealmakers Busy

Recent mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity

June 1, 2007

By COCO SALAZAR


photo of Coco Salazar

As banks mergers continued at a healthy pace, a shareholder lawsuit against a government sponsored enterprise was dismissed -- as was a senior bank executive.

But first, title insurance provider Fidelity National Financial Inc. said it promoted Alan L. Stinson to chief executive officer and appointed Raymond R. Quirk d Brent B. Bickett as co- presidents.

First National Bank of Arizona entered into a two-year contract that awarded Accenture the mortgage industry's "first-ever" end-to-end post-closing business process outsourcing assignment. With Accenture's post-closing services, First National expects to reduce costs, improve processing speed, increase process efficiency and enhance the usefulness of loan information, according to an announcement.

As part of a reorganization plan to reduce costs and reach profitability as soon as possible, leads provider LION Inc. said on Wednesday that it has begun to reduce its workforce and will be launching new Mortgage 101 and Lioninc.com broker portals early in the third quarter, followed by the launch of a new suite of online products.

"The majority of our cost-cutting measures will be phased over the remainder of the year," LION said in an announcement. "When totally executed, we anticipate a reduction of approximately 25% of our work force, a consolidation of our Denver and Seattle operations and aggressive cost cutting in discretionary spending, occupancy costs and marketing."

In Burlington, Vt., Chittenden Corp. announced that it completed purchasing Maine-based Merrill Merchants Bancshares Inc.

BOK Financial Corp. today completed a $127 million deal to acquire Worth Bancorporation, a move that will expand the presence of its subsidiary Bank of Texas in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, BOK said in announcement.

Gateway Financial Holdings Inc. gained entrance into the Richmond, Va., area with the acquisition of The Bank of Richmond N.A., according to an announcement today. The closed deal calls for Bank to operate as a separate division under the name "Bank of Richmond, a division of Gateway Bank," and be headed by Rex L. Smith III, the President and CEO of Bank.

A merger deal expected to take place in the fourth quarter will be that of Heritage Oaks Bancorp acquiring Business First National Bank. The two companies have signed an agreement for the cash-and-stock deal valued at $20.6 million, according to a press release.

More than 70 banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. were acquired or merged during the first quarter, according to a recently released report.

A consolidated shareholder derivative lawsuit against certain current and former officers and directors of Fannie Mae was reportedly dismissed. The complaint alleged that the executives "breached their fiduciary duties to Fannie Mae and that the company was harmed as a result," Fannie said in an August 2006 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a written statement Friday addressing the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia's dismissal of the suit, Fannie's chairman said, "We are pleased that the Court found that the Board of Directors acted responsibly, and was fully able to act independently to protect and make decisions on behalf of the company and was not compromised by any self interest."

BNY Mortgage announced that it will be launching a "world-class" reverse mortgage business and is currently assembling the "best and brightest in the industry" to create it.

Coast Financial Holdings Inc. fired Brian F. Grimes from his position as president and CEO and named Anne V. Lee to replace him, according to a May 25 announcement. Grimes was terminated because, among other things, provisions in a cease and desist order by the FDIC and Florida Office of Financial Regulation required the company to have a person for those roles with "certain specified qualifications and experience that Mr. Grimes does not possess." Grimes retains his position as a director of the company.

Coast agreed to the order, which does not restrict it from transacting banking business and follows an on-site examination by the regulators regarding certain issues affecting the Coast Bank residential construction-to-permanent loan portfolio. The order calls for Coast to take measures in board oversight, management planning and auditing, equity management, loan loss allowance, loan portfolio review, liquidity management and information technology.


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

e-mail: [email protected]


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