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Production Executive Changes Teams

Production Executive Changes Teams

Mortgage mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity

May 1, 2006

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
As several banks expand their franchises and new mortgage lending operations are launched, a production executive from the third largest U.S. mortgage lender is going the nonprime route.

Texas United Bancshares Inc.’s board of directors authorized a plan to repurchase up to 500,000 shares of the company’s common stock in the open market. This represents 4.7% of the total outstanding shares of 10,618,605 as of April 14, 2006, according to an announcement Friday.

The La Grange, Tex.-based company said the repurchases may be made from time to time at the discretion of management and that it may utilize them for any purpose the board deems advisable in compliance with applicable law.

FNB Corp. said it completed the acquisition of Integrity Financial Corp. and, as a result, changed its own name to FNB United Corp.

FNB United’s bank subsidiaries, First National Bank and Trust Co. and First Gaston Bank, which operates subsidiary Dover Mortgage Co., will continue to operate as separate subsidiaries until August, when the banks are expected to merge, according to the announcement.

Alesco Financial Trust said Thursday it will merge with Sunset Financial Resources Inc. in a transaction expected to close in the third or fourth quarter.

The combined specialty finance real estate investment trusts will reportedly trade on the New York Stock Exchange, and in addition to operating under the Alesco name, will pursue its investment strategy focused on trust preferred securities issued by banks and insurance companies, middle-market loans and residential mortgage-backed securities.

Sunset additionally entered into an interim management agreement with Alesco’s external manager, Cohen Brothers Management LLC, to transition its existing assets into assets consistent with the investment strategy of the merged company.

MainSource Bank recently announced it executed a purchase and assumption agreement to purchase five Indiana branches of First Financial Bank, N.A.

The transaction is expected to close next quarter and calls for the majority of consumer and small business deposit accounts and loans, including home equity to be transferred to MainSource Bank, the announcement said.

Heritage Bank has agreed to purchase four AmSouth branch offices in Tennessee in a transaction expected to close by this quarter’s end, according to a press release.

AmSouth said the sale of the four branches is part of an effort to operate in areas that best support achievement of the company’s growth objectives.

“We continue to see opportunity for business expansion in Tennessee, and this sale will provide some of the resources we need to invest in additional growth,” AmSouth said in the announcement.

AmSouth Bancorporation recently said the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the State of Alabama Banking Department terminated the cease and desist order it issued against it and AMSouth Bank in 2004.

The order reportedly related to the bank’s obligation to detect and report suspicious activity under the Bank Secrecy Act and AmSouth has implemented new policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the act and strengthen internal controls.

Premier Financial Bancorp also recently had restrictions terminated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, as it satisfied the goal to restore financial soundness. Among the steps Premier was required to complete was to retain an independent consultant to review its management, directorate and organizational structure; monitor its subsidiary banks’ compliance with bank policies; maintain sufficient capital; and submit to the Federal Reserve Bank annual projections of planned sources and uses of the parent company’s cash.

National City Corp. completed the acquisition of Forbes First Financial Corp., according to an announcement today. Eight full-service branches in the St. Louis area were included in the transaction.

The Forbes branches, which currently operate through subsidiary Pioneer Bank and Trust Co., are anticipated to begin operating under the National City name by late summer.

Franklin Credit Management Corp. said it was recently notified that it was not in compliance to continue on the NASDAQ because it was late in filing its 2005 annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The New York-based nonprime mortgage originator, however, said it filed its annual report on Tuesday and believes such filing restores compliance to be listed on the NASDAQ.

Six months into operating as a public company, FSBO Media Holdings Inc. has entered into several agreements, including one to purchase privately held UBUY Mortgage Corp.

FSBO said the acquisition of the 3-year-old residential and commercial mortgage broker will contribute immediate revenues to its financial results.

Gateway Financial Holdings Inc. will launch today a mortgage-lending unit that will be based in Raleigh, headed by a group of lenders who are moving from another institution, and is expected to generate $2 million of pre-tax profit by next year, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Global Energy Resources Inc. said Thursday it is now able to provide mortgage lending in all 50 U.S. states.

Global, which says it is a Delaware corporation with branch offices in Irvine, Calif., New York and Verona, Italy, noted that it also recently added retail lending to its financial division’s mortgage services operation.

Anthony T. Meola, Washington Mutual’s executive vice president of home loans, resigned Friday to “pursue an opportunity that he feels represents a natural step in his personal and professional goals,” spokeswoman Sara Gaugl told MortgageDaily.com.

That opportunity was with New Century Financial Corp., which announced today it hired Meola as executive vice president of loan production to lead its mortgage production franchise toward becoming one of the top U.S. lenders in the nation.

In his new role, Meola, who has more than 19 years experience at the senior management level in the mortgage industry and was “instrumental” in building WaMu’s home loans sales force and product line, will be responsible for managing and expanding Irvine, Calif.-based New Century’s national production franchise, broadening the mortgage product menu available for delivery through all loan origination channels and increasing productivity to enhance its competitive position, New Century said.

WaMu, ranked No. 3 by MortgageDaily.com in residential third quarter production, has not named a successor, but his “departure won’t affect our home loan strategy,” Gaugl noted, adding that the production team is reporting to Home Loans President David Schneider.


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

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