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Wells Does 2 Deals

Wells Does 2 Deals

Recent mergers, acquisitions & corp activity

January 15, 2007

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
Bank deals, including a joint venture and acquisition by Wells Fargo, dominated the latest mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and other corporate activity.

But first, on Tuesday, Umbrella Bancorp Inc. changed its name to Terme Bancorp Inc., according to an announcement. The name change carries over to its various subsidiaries, including Terme Mortgage Inc., which expects to complete its name change filings around mid-February.

Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service announced it placed the servicer quality rating of Popular Mortgage Servicing Inc., also known as Equity One Inc., on review for a possible downgrade due to the announcement by Popular Inc. that it will close its subprime wholesale and retail origination channels but continue the servicing operations. The most likely downside scenario would be a reduction in servicing stability assessment from above average to average, with a corresponding change in Popular’s subprime primary servicer rating of SQ3+ from SQ2-.

Popular’s servicing portfolio consists of originations by the discontinued channels, and although Popular is looking to potentially expand servicing for loans with a higher credit quality, “Moody’s believes the changes in strategic direction of the servicing operations and the resultant uncertainty as to the source of future loans to maintain, or expand, the servicing portfolio impacts the company’s overall servicing stability,” according to the announcement.

First Guardian Financial Corp. announced that it named Fauzie Mohamed interim president of the company. Mr. Mohamed has most recently served as the company’s Director of Buysellmerge.com unit and President of Windsor Capital.

Shearson Home Loans appointed Doug Lawrence as its president and increased its warehouse banking credit facilities from 75 million to 83 million through the addition of a line of credit with Sterling Eagle, parent Shearson Financial Network announced. The moves are part of an expansion in its operating infrastructure to accommodate planned new business for 2007 — as the company reportedly boosted to 47 from 17 the number of states it is licensed in throughout 2006 and plans to continue increasing the number.

Capital Alliance Income Trust Ltd. said it intends to appoint an independent director to its board prior to the April 5 deadline the American Stock Exchange gave for continued listing. The nonconforming mortgage real estate investment trust said it received a warning letter for noncompliance with continued listing requirements because the recent resignation of one independent director reduced the number to one less than the requirement to maintain a board that it half made up of independent directors.

Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. announced it recently opened a branch in Elkins Park, Pa., and another one in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Impac Commercial Capital Corp., which originates small-balance multifamily and commercial loans primarily for investment, recently agreed to purchase certain assets, and hire the employees of Fidelity Bancorp Funding Inc., in a deal expected to close on our about Jan. 16, parent Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. announced.

In Purchase, N.Y., Quorum Federal Credit Union announced it completed its fifth merger since 2005, through the recent merger with Avon Federal Credit Union.

National City Corp. is one step closer to acquiring Fidelity Bankshares, as Fidelity shareholders recently finalized their preferences as to the form of merger consideration they will receive, which included that those who opted to receive cash will receive $39.50 per share, according to the announcement.

Gateway Financial Holdings Inc. will buy The Bank of Richmond N.A. through a $55.8 million floating exchange of cash and stock that will provide Gateway entrance into the “demographically attractive” Richmond, Va., market area while significantly adding to its existing footprint in that state, according to a news release.

On Friday, Marshall & Ilsley Corp. said it signed an agreement to acquire North Star Financial Corp. in $21 million stock transaction expected to close next quarter. The Chicago, Ill.-based company will be integrated with Marshall’s wealth management unit.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and the Hispanic National Mortgage Association announced they formed a retail joint venture, ILUMINA Mortgage LLC, that will offer traditional mortgage lending products and services, and special resources to assist Hispanic and non-traditional residential loan prospects.

And Wells is in another deal.

Through a $645 million stock-for-stock deal expected to close by mid-2007, Wells Fargo & Co. will buy Placer Sierra Bancshares, a Northern Califonia-based bank holding company of Placer Sierra Bank


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