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The Price is RightRecent mergers, acquisitions and corporate transactions

July 11, 2005

By COCO SALAZAR

In the latest mortgage-related mergers, acquisitions and corporate deals, SunTrust Mortgage Inc. is looking to gain condo loan originations with the creation of a new financing company that will assist condo buyers.

Cardinal Financial Corp. recently reported that it completed acquiring Virginia-based asset management firm Wilson/Bennett Capital Management Inc. for about $6.6 million in stock and cash.

Wilson/Bennett reportedly focuses on large capitalization stocks and has approximately $225 million of assets under management.

The transaction follows Cardinal’s recent acquisition of residential mortgage lending unit, George Mason Mortgage LLC.

In Lancaster, Penn., Fulton Financial said it finished acquiring SVB Financial Services Inc.

Somerset Valley Bank, the sole banking subsidiary of SVB Financial, now operates as a separate subsidiary of Fulton.

Somerset reportedly operates twelve community banking offices in New Jersey. Fulton operates 236 banking offices in five North Eastern and specifically offers residential mortgage lending through Fulton Mortgage Co. and Resource Mortgage.

In Baltimore, Municipal Mortgage & Equity, also known as MuniMae, recently reported that it closed on the $67 million cash-and-stock deal to purchase of Glaser Financial Group Inc.

“This acquisition adds significant scale to our existing mortgage banking business and strengthens our relationship with two of our most important capital partners, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said Michael Falcone, president and CEO of MuniMae, which reportedly provides debt and equity financing to developers of multifamily housing and other real estate investments.

Glaser, which will operate as part of MMA Financial LLC, arranges financing for multifamily, senior housing and commercial real estate through Fannie, Freddie, HUD/FHA, conventional and conduit funding sources. Insured and uninsured taxable loans and tax-exempt bond issues make up its $3.5 billion servicing portfolio, the announcement said.

“Glaser’s Midwest focus is an excellent complement to our geographically diverse national servicing portfolio, and, after the acquisition, assets under management for the entire company will exceed $15 billion,” said Gary Mentesana, a MuniMae executive vice president, in a written statement.

Real estate investment trust ProLogis will acquire Catellus Development Corp., an industrial REIT, in a $4.9 million deal expected to close by the end of the year, the companies announced.

The merged company will offer the world’s largest network of distribution facilities and services “with over 350 million square feet of distribution space worldwide and land positions to support $6.9 Billion of potential development,” the announcement said.

Northern Star Financial Inc. will sell up to 49% of the company to an undisclosed investor, according to an announcement Friday.

While a number of hurdles remain before the deal can be consummated, the Mankato, Minn.-based banking company with residential mortgage operations said the stake would cost the investor $2.9 million.

“The investment would…position us to continue the growth and business development which was interrupted by the litigation the company successfully endured during the past three years,” Northern Star CEO Tom Stienessen said in the announcement.

On Thursday, Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. said it has agreed to sell the majority of Fleetwood Retail Corp.’s operating assets to two retail subsidiaries of Clayton Homes, Inc. for $74 million.

Fleetwood Enterprises is a manufactured housing retail company, while Clayton is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

The deal, which separately calls for the sale of a $71 million loan portfolio, is projected to close early in Fleetwood’s 2nd fiscal quarter of 2006. Upon completion of the sale, Fleetwood will pay off its warehouse line of credit, which amounted to $40.7 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

A new mortgage company, Cool Mortgage, was recently formed through a joint venture between SunTrust Mortgage Inc. and Hoffman Group Inc., according to an announcement.

The new unit is at the Myrtle Beach, S.C., base location of Hoffman Group, the largest oceanfront condo sales and marketing firm with over $200 million in annual sales, the announcement said.

“The primary factor driving our decision to partner with SunTrust Mortgage forming a mortgage company is so we can integrate systems and take customer service to the next level,” said Hoffman Group Chief Executive David Hoffman in the written statement. “Cool Mortgage will give our customers the opportunity to receive the service they deserve.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.email: CocoSalazar@MortgageDaily.com

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