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Business Settled

Business Settled

Mortgage mergers, acquisitions & corp. activity

February 26, 2007

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
During the latest week, mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity were dominated by executive shuffling, earnings charges and a shareholder settlement.

The Charles Schwab Corp. on Wednesday said it appointed Walt Bettinger as its president and chief operating officer.

At the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, Richard M. Riccobono was elected to succeed James E. Gilleran as president and chief executive officer, according to a press release. Gilleran has agreed to continue as a consultant to the bank through Dec. 31, 2007, and will pursue other business interests as they develop.

HSBC Finance Corp. has a new non-executive chairman, Douglas Flint, and a new CEO, Brendan McDonagh, according to an announcement Thursday. Bobby Mehta resigned as chairman and CEO on Feb. 15, a week after parent HSBC Holdings plc announced it was setting aside $1.76 billion for loan impairment charges and other credit risk to be accounted for at the end of 2006 for mortgage services operations.

NetBank Inc. announced that its provisions for the nonconforming channel were $30.3 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of $25.7 million from the previous quarter. Accelerated repurchase activity and shutdown costs related to the discontinuation of its nonconforming mortgage operation, Meritage Mortgage, contributed to an after-tax loss of $86.3 million for the quarter.

Newly-formed mortgage banker Sydion Financial announced it will soon launch its wholesale business and thereby has signed an agreement to use a certain loan origination system and broker portal.

Residential Funding Company LLC announced it will transfer the subservicing of loans currently being subserviced by Mortgage Lenders Network USA to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage on March 1. The move follows notices RFC delivered in January terminating the servicing rights of Emax Financial Group LLC and the subservicing rights of Mortgage Lenders.

Fieldstone Investment Corp. said it paid former shareholders $10.6 million to settle litigation relating to the price the company paid to redeem the shareholders’ shares following the closing of Fieldstone’s Rule 144A equity offering in 2003. Due to the settlement, Fieldstone’s common stock is no longer subject to a potential $0.20 reduction under the previously announced merger agreement with Credit-Based Asset Servicing and Securitization LLC.

Sterling Financial Corp. is closer to acquiring Northern Empire Bancshares on Feb. 28, as the companies’ shareholders approved the proposed merger in special meeting held this week, according to a press release.

MainSource Financial Group said it has agreed to sell the charter of its subsidiary federal savings bank, MainSource Bank – Hobart, to Moolah Holding Corp. in a transaction expected to close in the third quarter.

The sale does not include the transfer of any operations, facilities, or personnel of MainSource Bank – Hobart, as these will be transferred to MainSource Bank, Greensburg, Ind., before the sale. Branches of MainSource Bank – Hobart will continue to be owned by MainSource Financial.

“Because our expertise is in operating commercial banks, we are pleased to know that we can capitalize on this transfer from a federal savings and loan to an Indiana chartered bank,” MainSource Financial said.

Tribeca Lending has a new president, Richard Payne, and it completed the purchase of certain assets related to the wholesale mortgage origination unit of the New York Mortgage Company LLC, according to an announcement Friday. The acquisition includes offers of employment to approximately 60 sales and processing personnel in Bridgewater, N.J.


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