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Mortgage Entrepreneur Acquires Bank

The owner of a growing mortgage banking firm has also become a controlling stockholder of a federally regulated financial institution.

On Aug. 28, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency approved a proposal for
Kent Wiechert to acquire a controlling interest in Goldwater Bank, N.A., a news release said.

The proposal to make the acquisition of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based bank was originally submitted by Wiechert nearly a year earlier.

On Thursday, an announcement from Wiechert indicated that the acquisition was completed through a stock purchase.

Wiechert is the owner of Westar Mortgage Corp.

“The details of the plan include a host of provisions that will align the two firms around their common and complementary business lines, including the integration of the Westar’s highly successful retail mortgage origination channel into the bank’s already established mortgage division,” the statement said.

The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based mortgage-banking firm originated $0.800 billion during 2014 and is on track to close $1.1 billion this year, according to data provided by Westar to Mortgage Daily..

Goldwater Bank funded $0.250 billion last year through its Affiliated Financial Group division and is expected to originate $0.450 billion during 2015.

Staffing at Westar
currently stands at 450 employees, and another 100 people are expected to join the organization during the next 30 days.

By next year, more than 400 of Westar’s employees are expected to migrate to Goldwater Bank, where there are currently 120 people on the payroll.

More than 600 people are expected to be employed by the two companies by the time the plan submitted to the OCC is executed.

Westar, which was founded in 1983, says it services roughly $2.5 billion in agency and private loans.

“While transactions where banks are buying mortgage companies and/or other banks have been commonplace in the industry since the financial crisis, regulatory authorization for a mortgage company (or its sole owner) purchasing a controlling interest in a nationally chartered bank is relatively unheard of, to say the least,” yesterday’s announcement said.

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