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FL Lender Struggling But Alive

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Despite the demise of its sister companies, a Florida-based lender will weather the current storm — though with a few less hands.

Market Street Mortgage is doing what it takes to stay afloat given market volatility, Vice President of Marketing Joyce Frustaci told MortgageDaily.com.

“Just as other lenders have been doing, with the origination volume going down over all, across the United States, a majority of lenders are modifying staffing and basically we are doing the same,” she said. “Most of the changes that we have made are on the administrative side, what you would consider back office.”

Last year, Market Street originated a reported $3.2 billion, a step down from the $4.8 billion in 2005, according to data on AllMortgageDetail.com.

This year marks the twentieth for Market Street, Frustaci said.

“We have a long-standing operation, a strong history — we are going through the cycle,” she explained. “All the other lenders would probably agree that we are all working to be here on the other side of the loop.”

Frustaci said the company has about 50 offices nationwide and 600 employees. She confirmed that at least 20 employees had recently been laid-off but would not disclose an exact number.

And the details regarding the acquisition of Market Street’s parent company NetBank by Jacksonville, Fla.-based EverBank are still unclear.

“I don’t believe that has been finalized,” she said. “I don’t know where that agreement stands.”

EverBank announced last May that it was in the process of acquiring NetBank.

NetBank shut down subprime subsidiary Meritage Mortgage last year, closed its wholesale mortgage operations in May and abandoned NetBank Funding Services that same month.

Market Street originates conventional, FHA and VA loans, and home equity lines of credit in all 50 states, according to its Web site. It announced the acquisition of 27 residential production offices from Major Mortgage last year and 14 residential production offices from Guaranty Residential Lending Inc. the prior year.

The company lost an $894,000 lawsuit against former executive Robert McBride who claimed the lender wrote to him that his salary would be cut by two-thirds, then later — in an effort to avoid severance liabilities — claimed it was all a mistake.

“We go from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market in the real estate industry,” Frustaci remarked of the latest actions. “And we go through a cycle on the mortgage side.

“Every lender is doing the same thing — we are hanging on.

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