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Wholesale Lender Sold

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A wholesale lender with more than a thousand mortgage broker clients is changing hands, and the former chief of a big subprime lender has been appointed to lead the company.

A deal has been announced to sell ICON Residential Lenders, a wholesaler based in Irvine, Calif.

Closing of the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to occur by the first-quarter 2013, though a fourth-quarter consummation is possible. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

Grand Bank, N.A., is the seller. Mark A. Wolters, president and chief executive officer of the Hamilton, N.J.-based financial institution, said in the statement that the decision to sell will allow Hamilton to focus on building its core community banking business.

Andrew Pollock was named CEO of ICON as of Friday.

Pollock previously served as president and chief administrative officer of First California Mortgage Co. — where he was “responsible for the successful turnaround and expansion of the organization.”

More significantly, Pollock was president and CEO of Bank of America Corp.-subsidiary First Franklin Financial Corp. BofA inherited the subprime lender through its acquisition of Merrill Lynch. First Franklin was ranked as the fourth-biggest subprime lender between 2005 and 2007 by the Center for Public Integrity with $68 billion in originations.

“Mr. Pollock has extensive experience in mortgage banking, wholesale mortgage originations, mergers and acquisitions, and leading quick growth initiatives,” the announcement said.

Wolters added, “Andy is an experienced financial professional who knows what it takes to grow and lead a successful company.”

The buyer in the transaction is Rushmore Loan Management Services, a residential servicer of performing and non-performing loans also based in Irvine, Calif. Rushmore CEO Terry Smith said ICON will be a good complement to Rushmore’s existing mortgage business and a seamless transition is planned.

In addition to wholesale originations, ICON operates a mortgage servicing business. It is reportedly approved as a Fannie Mae seller-servicer and as a Ginnie Mae issuer.

More than 1,400 mortgage brokers originate for the 250-employee company, which was founded in 2006, according to the news release. ICON claims to be a top-20 wholesaler.

A published report a year ago indicated that ICON was laying off 120 full-time employees. But the company denied the report and said it was growing and hiring.

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