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Mergers Create Bigger Lenders

Mergers Create Bigger Lenders

Recent mortgage mergers, acquisitions & corp. activity

February 19, 2007

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
A number of pending mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures promise to make their principals much bigger mortgage players. And one of the acquiring companies says it is on the prowl for more deals.

But first, General Motors Corp. announced that its previously filed financial statements and information for 2002 through the third quarter 2006 should no longer be relied upon, largely due to adjustments in hedge accounting. The net impact of such tax adjustments results in an understatement of stockholders’ equity of approximately $500 million.

Washington-based Sterling Financial Corp. announced it has received regulatory approval to acquire Northern Empire Bancshares. The merger deal, expected to close Feb. 28, will extend Sterling Savings Bank’s western footprint.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp. will acquire Louisiana-based The New Iberia Bank, the companies jointly announced. The approximately $65 million deal is expected to close during the third quarter.

In an unrelated deal, IBERIABANK Corp. completed its previously-announced acquisitions of Pocahontas Bancorp Inc. and Pulaski Investment Corp., according to a recent announcement. Pocahontas is the holding company for First Community Bank.

“During the next three months, First Community Bank and Pulaski Bank and Trust will merge and become a single wholly-owned subsidiary of IBERIABANK Corp.,” the Lafayette, La.-based company said. “At that time, the subsidiary will operate under the name Pulaski Bank and Trust.”

The combined entity will originate about $1 billion annually from eight states, IBERIABANK said.

Orlando, Fla.-based FBC Mortgage LLC acquired Central Florida Home Mortgage, according to a copy of a news article posted on FBC’s Web site.

America’s Community Bankers announced it formed a joint venture, ACB Mortgage LLC, with its members that is designed to leverage the aggregate quality and volume of community bankers’ mortgage business. The ACB Business Partners Inc. subsidiary will act as a negotiating agent with a variety of investors such as aggregators, government-sponsored enterprises and Wall Street firms.

“This new venture will take the community bank mortgage business to the next level and allow community banks to benefit from the quality of the mortgages they originate and to receive a return on their capital investment,” said Deborah Whiteside, president and chief operating officer of the joint venture, in the announcement.

Silverado Financial announced it signed a letter of intent to acquire Fidelity Capitol Financing Inc. Silverado said it intends to restart its mortgage-banking unit within the next several months and is looking to either negotiate payment of outstanding debts or obtain financing to eliminate any that cannot be negotiated.

Management plans to acquire others in the mortgage service space.

TMSF Holdings Inc. announced Wednesday it will acquire six wholesale branch offices, including a staff of about 80, from Central Pacific Mortgage. The new division, to be launched on March 1, will operate as CPM Mortgage Services.

About 55 percent of the wholesale unit’s $180 million monthly volume has been Alt-A, the statement said. The merger will reportedly double TMSF’s originations and will not include any pre-closing loan repurchase obligations of CPM-Wholesale.


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