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Mortgage Firms Scooped Up by Financial Institutions

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Financial institutions are still acquiring small mortgage banking firms. Other recent mortgage mergers and acquisitions involve a subprime servicer, a reverse mortgage company and two operations unloaded by GMAC.

A definitive agreement was reached for Walter Investment Management Corp. to purchase default servicer Marix Servicing LLC from Marathon Asset Management L.P. during October , a recent statement said. The acquisition is expected to create “one of the nation’s top 10 servicers of subprime mortgages.”

“Marix not only provides us with a superb mortgage servicing platform with a nationwide footprint, it also provides an independent revenue stream and a well developed information technology infrastructure, including proprietary applications which can be leveraged by both organizations,” Walter Investment Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark J. O’Brien said in the statement.

BCI Financial Corp. acquired Constitution Mortgage Corp. in September, according to a BCI statement. Constitution was founded in 1989. Both companies operate in Connecticut. The combined operations operate as BCI Financial Mortgage Corp.

Descap Mortgage Funding LLC will acquire ClearPoint Funding Inc. from Greg O’Connor, Descap-parent Gleacher & Company Inc. announced. The acquisition, which is subject to reguatory approval, is part of Gleacher’s plan to launch a residential mortgage banking initiative.

MortgageIT Inc. co-founder Mark Pappas will supervise Gleacher’s interest in ClearPoint, though O’Connor will stay on after the merger to lead overall operations.

Marlborough, Mass.-based ClearPoint operates in 13 states and employs 100 people.

An announcement from Great Oak Lending Partners indicated that the Timonium, Md.-based firm merged with 1st Maryland Mortgage Corp. of Damascus, Md. The combined entity will operate as Great Oak Lending Partners. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Great Oaks, which claims to be the biggest reverse mortgage lender in Maryland, said its monthly funding capacity will be $25 million as a result of the mergers. Since launching in 2001, the company said it has originated $1.5 billion. Great Oak brought 58 employees to the transaction, while 1st Maryland has seven employees. Another 20 to 30 people are expected to be hired by the end of December.

A letter of intent to acquire 14-year-old Valley Mortgage Company Inc. has been executed by Kinderhook Bank Corp. Valley Mortgage founder Seth Rapport will continue as president of the mortgage business. A definitive purchase agreement and regulatory approval was still needed as of the announcement date.

In Albany, N.Y., SEFCU announced the Sept. 1 acquisition of Home Funding Finders. Home Funding president Michelle Raymond is serving as senior vice president of the acquired entity, while Robert MacLasco was appointed its new president. All 59 Home Funding employees will join SEFCU.

GMAC Commercial Finance LLC’s resort finance business was acquired on Sept. 13 by Centerbridge Capital Partners L.P. and some of its affiliates from Ally Financial Inc., a statement said. Newly formed Lantern Asset Management LLC will manage the acquired entity, and some GMAC executives are part of the management company.

Centerbridge Senior Managing Director Lance N. West said the investment was attractive due to the “strong and highly experienced management team.”

The following month, Ally announced that Residential Capital LLC sold its European mortgage assets and operations to affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC. The deal included $11 billion in securitized loans and other loan assets. Ally CEO Michael A. Carpenter said in the statement that the sale was part of the company’s objective to cut exposure in the legacy mortgage operation.

The sale completes Ally’s exit from the European mortgage market.

Mortgage Consultants Inc. was acquired by Community Bancshares Inc. for an undisclosed amount, The Clarion-Ledger reported. Mortgage Consultants President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hays will continue as president of the bank’s mortgage group.

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