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Massive Deal Dominates Mortgage M&As

Massive Deal Dominates Mortgage M&As

Recent mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity

April 4, 2006


photo of Coco Salazar
Several mortgage-related mergers involving Florida companies were trumped by a massive deal with the parent of Residential Capital Corp.

At Doral Financial Corp., Lidio Soriano was appointed as the new chief financial officer.

Soriano served as the interim CFO since August 2005, replacing Ricardo Melendez who was terminated along with a number of other senior management members during Doral’s restatement process.

“We are very pleased with Mr. Soriano’s outstanding contribution during the restatement process,” said John A. Ward, III, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “His financial and accounting experience, and his familiarity with the residential mortgage market make him an ideal fit for Doral as we continue to rebuild our senior management team.”

Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida said it completed acquiring Big Lake Financial Corp.

As a result, an office of Big Lake National Bank will be consolidated later this year into a closely-located office of Seacoast’s subsidiary First National Bank and Trust Company of the Treasure Coast.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, Alabama National BanCorporation said Monday it acquired Florida Choice Bankshares Inc.

Over the weekend, Milwaukee, Wis.-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. announced it completed acquiring Trustcorp Financial Inc., the holding company of Missouri State Bank and Trust Co.

In Columbus, Ga., Synovus completed the acquisition of Banking Corporation of Florida and its subsidiary First Florida Bank.

The merger reportedly gives Synovus entrance into three “rapidly growing” Florida markets and increases resources for more robust product and service offerings.

FMF Capital Group Ltd. announced its warehouse lenders provided waivers of its compliance with certain covenants in its warehouse lines of credit used for funding mortgages. Additionally, the parties agreed to modify certain covenants, including the tangible net worth and liquidity covenants.

The modifications will reduce the maximum commitment amount of one of the Toronto, Canada-based company’s lines to $300 million from $400 million. FMF also agreed to pledge $1 million cash collateral through June 30, 2006, to support the other line, which has a maximum commitment amount of $150 million, the announcement said.

FMF says its originates and funds primarily nonprime mortgage loans in the United States and then sells them to institutional loan purchasers.

Fieldstone Investment Corp. said it will restate financial statements for 2003 and 2004 and the first three quarters of 2005 to correct accounting errors related to the timing of recognition of income tax paid by Fieldstone Mortgage Co.

The income tax is related to the sale of loans from Fieldstone Mortgage to Fieldstone in the last quarter of 2003 and the second quarter of 2005, according to an announcement.

As of Sept. 30, 2005, Fieldstone’s reported stockholders’ equity will increase by $1.7 million as a result of the accounting corrections.

In Detroit, Mich., General Motors announced Monday it agreed to sell a 51 percent controlling interest in General Motors Acceptance Corp. for $14 billion over three years to a consortium of investors led by Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., and including Citigroup Inc. and Aozora Bank Ltd.

The transaction reportedly provides significant liquidity and support to the parent company’s automotive operations and improves GMAC’s access to cost-effective funding. Citigroup put its backing behind the deal — arranging two syndicated asset-based funding facilities for GMAC totaling $25 billion.

The deal puts Cerberus, a 14-year-old investment company, in charge of “what is considered the seventh-largest financial institution in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Cerberus, which the Journal says has grown from a tiny “vulture” firm 10 years ago making loans to small or embattled businesses with few options, has reportedly helped the likes of adult cable channels, a mall operator and the publisher of Penthouse magazine.

Stephen Feinberg, founder of Cerberus, said he plans to use GMAC as a platform to get into financial services, according to the business publication.

“Moreover, we have great confidence and respect for the people of GMAC, and look forward to the continued success of the GMAC automotive financing, mortgage and insurance, banking, and real estate services businesses around the globe,” said Lenard Tessler, Cerberus’ head of private equity and senior managing director, in the announcement.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

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