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Wholesaler Done Funding

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Mortgage Daily

                                                 December 12, 2007

A California wholesale lender that had originated as much as $5 billion annually is throwing in the towel.

Just two years ago Secured Bankers Mortgage Co. racked up nearly $5 billion in loan volume. The company, known as SBMC, boasted on its Web site that since 1990 loan originations totaled more than $20 billion.

But current visitors to the Van Nuys, Calif.-based company’s Web site are being greeted with an all too familiar message to industry observers and consumers; the company is closing down.

“I regret to inform you of the company’s decision to terminate our mortgage origination activities,” President Lance Tendler said. “There will be no further fundings.”

Tendler did not return three phone messages to comment, but a woman who answered his phone confirmed the company is closing.

In his posting, Tendler wrote that the company is scuttling four offices in California, including operations in Fresno and San Diego, but keeping its Van Nuys headquarters open until Feb. 7 to wind down operations.

“This was a painful decision,” Tendler said. “Unfortunately, the market forces are no longer in alignment to allow us to continue.”

Employment had been up to 200 at one point but may have dropped down to as low as 50 before Tendler posted his letter last week.

According to AllMortgageDetail.com, an online mortgage tracking Web site, SBMC had loan volume of $4.9 billion in 2005, $2.8 billion in 2004 and $2.6 billion in 2003.

Last year, it originated 2,833 first lien and 1,106 junior lien home purchase loans, and 5,773 first lien and 660 junior lien refinances, according to information compiled by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.

The company describes itself as a “direct lender serving the wholesale mortgage broker community.”

SBMC’s parent company, Kennington Ltd., Inc., is a privately-held corporation with interests that include the apparel, luxury hotels and commercial real estate.

Representatives of Kennington could not be reached to comment.

On its Web site SBMC touted its financial strength.

“SBMC Mortgage is highly capitalized, with an equity position several times our working capital needs,” the company said. “Because of considerable growth and success over the last several years, SBMC Mortgage has the financial resources necessary to meet future growth objectives. We are taking determined steps in marketing, customer connectivity, automation and financial analysis to secure a solid future.”

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