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Mortgage Mergers Maintain Momentum

Mortgage Mergers Maintain Momentum

Latest mortgage industry corporate activity

January 31, 2006

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
The latest moves in the game of mortgage Monopoly included a real estate investment trust’s initial public offering and the government’s approval of banking mergers despite discrimination accusations.

American Bank of Saint Paul said Friday it acquired Minnesota Mortgage Financial Corp. from Gaertner Meiers Inc.

The acquisition of the full-service residential and commercial mortgage broker, which has two offices and is licensed in five states, will operate as a subsidiary under the name Minnesota Mortgage Financial LLC and will increase lending abilities in the secondary market mortgages for American Bank, according to the announcement.

In Las Vegas, Western Alliance Bancorporation recently announced that its lead subsidiary, BankWest of Nevada, will acquire Bank of Nevada in a transaction expected to close next quarter.

“This merger complements our franchise in southern Nevada,” said Robert Sarver, chairman and chief of Western Alliance, in the announcement. “Coupled with our previously announced merger with Intermountain First Bancorp and Nevada First Bank, this transaction will dramatically expand our presence in the fastest-growing state in the nation.”

Once the mergers are complete, BankWest of Nevada will be renamed Bank of Nevada “in recognition of its burgeoning statewide presence,” he added.

Dallas-based H-Cube LLC recently announced it acquired Global Realty Outsourcing Inc., which reportedly pioneered the delivery of high level onshore/offshore outsourcing solutions to the real estate and financial services industries.

Global “strengthens our position as a top provider of services to the financial services industry,” H-Cube said.

TD Banknorth Inc., which will acquire Hudson United Bancorp, disclosed Friday preliminary results of the elections made by Hudson shareholders.

On a preliminary basis, of the 44,846,335 shares of Hudson United common stock currently outstanding, approximately 42% of the shares elected to receive cash, about 41%, elected to receive TD Banknorth common stock and the remaining 17%, did not make a valid election and are deemed to have elected to receive TD Banknorth common stock pursuant to the merger agreement, according to the announcement.

The maximum aggregate cash consideration to be paid in the merger is a fixed $941.8 million, plus cash payable for fractional shares, TD Banknorth said.

Fulton Financial Corp. recently obtained approval from the Federal Reserve to merge with Columbia Bancorp and acquire its subsidiary bank, The Columbia Bank.

A commenter who opposed the merger alleged that 2004 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data showed Fulton engaged in discriminatory treatment of minority individuals in its home mortgage lending operations, according to the Fed’s approval order.

The Fed, however, determined that records demonstrated “Fulton is active in meeting the convenience and needs of its entire community,” and gave the green light for the merger transaction to be consummated by or around mid-April.

Similar accusations regarding home lending practices were made by a commenter opposing Synovus Financial Corp.’s acquisition of Riverside Bancshares Inc. But the Fed’s findings dismissed the allegations and the board approved of the transaction.

GSE Capital Corp. plans an initial public offering valued up to $200 million, it said Friday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The New Jersey-based company did not disclose how many shares of common stock it will offer nor how many may be offered on behalf of existing shareholders.

GSE said it expects to qualify as a taxable real estate investment trust for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, and subsequent tax years.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.e-mail: MortgageWriter@aol.com

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