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New Subprime Wholesaler, Lead Co. Merger Among Latest Deals

New Subprime Wholesaler, Lead Co. Merger Among Latest DealsRecent mergers, acquisitions and corporate transactions

July 18, 2005


This week’s mergers, acquisitions and corporate transactions include a deal that will improve service to large companies buying loan leads and another that will net mortgage brokers a new subprime wholesaler.

In Jacksonville, Fla., Fidelity National Financial Inc. announced it will acquire title and closing services company Service Link L.P. and subsidiary Asset Link, an REO management and disposition company.

Service Link’s merger will provide Fidelity, an outsourcing services and solutions provider to financial institutions and the real estate industry, with “title insurance subsidiaries with centralized title and closing capabilities and improved direct access to national lender accounts for both refinance transactions and emerging lender-driven purchase transactions,” Fidelity reported.

The acquired company will operate as a distinct brand under the Chicago Title subsidiary and will establish underwriting agreements with Fidelity’s family of title insurance underwriters, the announcement said.

Fidelity says that, through its majority-owned subsidiary’s software, processes nearly 50 percent of all U.S. residential mortgages.

Central Pacific Bank announced it intends to acquire full-service mortgage broker Hawaii HomeLoans Inc. within the next month. The merger will make the combined company the third largest originator in Hawaii.

Hawaii HomeLoans originated $555 million in residential mortgages in its fiscal year ended Feb. 28, 2005 and it services approximately $750 million in loans owned by third parties.

“With an expanded portfolio and the addition of top mortgage professionals, our Bank will be better positioned to service larger residential real estate development projects, from start to finish,” said Central CEO Clint Arnoldus in the announcement.

TD Banknorth Inc. said it will buy Hudson United Bancorp for $1.90 billion in a cash-and-stock deal expected to close in the first quarter 2006.

The acquisition will “significantly” expand the franchise in Connecticut and eastern New York while providing it with a presence in the fast-growing markets of New Jersey and Philadelphia, the Maine-based acquirer reported. On a pro forma basis, the transaction will create a regional financial services company with 590 branches in the North East.

TD Banknorth and TD Banknorth, N.A. reportedly operate subsidiaries and divisions in mortgage banking, amongst other services.

Lead generator eForce Media Inc. recently announced it will acquire Global Direct Marketing Solutions Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

eForce , based in Santa Monica, Calif., said the transaction is a strategic move that “would allow the combined entity to close the gap on service to large companies buying Internet leads in the form of an inbound call from a call center, as well as consumer purchase requests generated from eForce Media’s Web sites.”

eForce expects to maximize its return on investment and realize substantial increases in gross margins, by offering a “call in” opportunity to Internet users who wish immediate contact for a product or service, according to the announcement.

In San Diego, Calif., SCME Mortgage Bankers Inc. created a wholesale non-prime lender, Clearpath Lending Solutions.

The new division will also roll out a loan product & pricing engine that enables users to search loan programs and prices the loan “instantly” according to borrower criteria.

“We as a company have been very successful in the past when it comes to identifying opportunities and we felt that the time was right to extend into the nonprime market,” explained Sean Browning, senior vice president of production, in the written statement.

Clearpath’s San Diego, Calif.-based operations center reportedly operates sales offices throughout the parent company’s existing branch network.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

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