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Mortgage Shake Ups

Mortgage Shake Ups

Recent mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity

July 25, 2006

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
A California-based net branch has been swallowed up, while a Golden State wholesaler has expanded its lending capabilities. And recent years’ financial statements from PHH Mortgage’s parent can’t be relied upon.

But first, Freddie Mac recently said it chose JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services to provide transaction processing and record keeping services for its approximately $700 billion portfolio of mortgage-backed securities and short-term assets.

“We are simplifying our operating environment, saving time and money and more efficiently managing our investment assets at the Federal Reserve Bank and the Depository Trust Company,” Freddie said in a written statement. “JPMorgan’s state-of-the-art systems, scalable infrastructure and technology management experience with governments, central banks, make them a terrific choice for Freddie Mac.”

In Thomasville, N.C., BNC Bancorp reported it completed acquiring SterlingSouth Bank & Trust, a deal that expands its presence in the outskirts of Charlotte and gives it entrance into the Greensboro market.

Prosperity Bancshares Inc. inked an agreement to buy Texas United Bancshares Inc. for $357.1 million in a deal expected to close in the first quarter 2007.

The partnership “significantly enhances” Prosperity’s presence in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and Austin area, and marks its entrance into the Bryan/College Station area, according to the announcement.

Sunset Financial Resource Inc. and Alesco Financial Trust revised their merger agreement after Sunset investors expressed opposition to the deal, according to an announcement Thursday. A special merger dividend of $0.50 per share will be paid to Sunset stockholders once the deal goes through, putting the tender offer price at $8.24 per Sunset share.

“We want to ensure that all stockholders feel positive about the transaction and we are confident that the revised merger agreement will be beneficial to both Sunset and Alesco stockholders.,” Alesco Chairman Daniel Cohen said in the statement.

Global Energy Resources Inc., a Newport Beach, Calif.-based wholesale lender, announced it expanded its warehouse lending capability through a deal with Team Fox Mortgage Corp.

Global said the transaction will increase mortgage lending by $1 million a day.

On Aug. 1, Premier Mortgage Group will acquire Cherry Creek Mortgage Co., according to the Denver Business JournalCherry and Premier, both privately held companies based in Greenwood Village, Colo., are the third- and sixth-largest residential mortgage loan companies, respectively, the publication said.

Meanwhile, Bay Capital Corp. completed the asset acquisition of net branch operator Allstate Home Loans Inc., according to an announcement from Bay Capital parent Clear Choice Financial Inc.

The acquisition “continues to demonstrate our strategy to develop synergistic opportunities that will position us for growth as a full-service, client-focused, financial solutions provider,” said Clear Choice. “As our previous acquisition of Bay Capital Corporation, closed May 31st of this year, similarly demonstrated, this acquisition will complement Clear Choice Financial’s overall business plan dramatically.”

As of Thursday, Allstate’s pipeline loan volume was over $28 million, the announcement said. Based on pro forma financial statement of all three companies, Clear Choice’s total revenue for 2005 would be approximately $50 million.

Accounting errors found on financial statements have prompted PHH Corp. to restate almost five years of earnings, the Mount Laurel, N.J.-based lender said in a press release.

“After evaluating certain open accounting matters, our audit committee, in consultation with management and our independent auditors, determined that stockholders should no longer rely on our prior financial statements,” PHH said in an announcement. “We have identified certain accounting errors … including the appropriateness of a portion of mortgage re-insurance premiums being included as a component of the cash flows of our mortgage servicing rights.”

The prior statements involve those for 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and the first three quarters of 2005, PHH reported.


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

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