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4 Mortgage Firms Acquired

Mortgage News

In addition to the completion of one bank acquisition and federal approval for another — four mortgage operations were acquired.

Banco Santander SA of Spain completed its acquisition of Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bank on Jan. 30 for $1.9 billion, or $3.81 a share, according to a statement from Banco Santander.

Eagan, Minn.-based River City Mortgage and Financial announced March 4 its acquisition of privately held American Mortgage Corp., which operates 12 offices in the Twin Cities. Terms were not announced.

American Mortgage Corp. has originated $2.5 billion in loans since it opened in 1997, according to the statement. River City, which was founded in 1994, operates primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It has 55 loan officers in six offices that originated $3 billion in loans since it opened, the company said in a statement.

In Tallahassee, Fla., Ingle Mortgage has merged with Premier Bank. The deal was announced Feb. 27 and was effective March 2, the companies announced in a press release. Terms were not announced.

Radius Financial Group of Norwell, MA, announced March 18 that it has acquired LT Mortgage of Littleton, N.H. Terms of the merger, which was effective March 17, were not announced. Radius did $2.5 million in business last year, according to the business research site Manta.com. The combined company has 35 employees.

The Federal Reserve Board has approved Southern Bancshares Inc.’s request to acquire up to 9.9 percent of the outstanding voting shares of ECB Bancorp Inc. The Fed made the announcement March 9. With deposits of $1.6 billion, Southern Bancshares will be North Carolina’s seventh largest bank after the merger.

Mount Olive, N.C.-based Southern Bancshares has total banking assets around $1.2 billion. The-based ECB Bancorp is based in Engelhard, N.C., and its East Carolina Bank subsidiary has total assets of approximately $738 million, the Fed said.

Bank of America might spinoff First Republican Bank of San Francisco, according to published reports. BoA picked up First Republic in its Jan. 1 acquisition of Merrill Lynch, which purchased First Republic in the fall of 2007. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are considered were cited by the Wall Street Journal as potential suitors.

On Feb. 27, Citigroup Inc. announced that it would issue as much as $81 billion in common shares in a move to bolster its tangible common equity. Citi said in a statement it will exchange common stock for up to $2.75 billion of its existing preferred securities and trust preferred securities as a conversion price of $3.25 a share. The federal government will match up to $25 billion face value of its preferred stock at the same conversion price.

“This transaction — which requires no additional investment from U.S. taxpayers — does not change Citi’s strategy, operations or governance,” Citi CEO Vikram Pandit said in the statement.

Precision Funding Group LLC has acquired the former Bankers First Mortgage branch office in Bethlehem, PA., according to a March 23 statement. Terms were not disclosed. Precision Funding Group is based in Haddon Heights, N.J.

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