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Mortgage mergers, acquisitions and corporate activity

September 5, 2006

By COCO SALAZAR

 

photo of Coco Salazar
A rapid expansion at “The Donald’s” mortgage company trumped other industry activity this week.

But first, grocery store Kroger is now offering mortgages and home equity loans in its stores in the Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio, area as part of a pilot program through Kroger Personal Finance that will eventually be rolled out nationwide, the Enquirer reported.

Pennsylvania-based MortgageHub said recently bringing ISGN Technologies LTD, a global enterprise software solutions provider that is part of India-based K.K. Birla Group, as a major investor in its company will extend its reach “beyond serving the nation’s top 10 lenders, offering its wholesale, retail and correspondent lending platforms to a larger market base that will include the nation’s top 80 lenders.

DocuSign announced a strategic alliance and development partnership with eOriginal Inc. to create the first complete on-demand solution for electronic execution of business and consumer loan documents, with bank notes automatically flowing into a secure electronic vault for securitization and management.

Capital Alliance Income Trust Ltd. reported that it received notice from the American Stock Exchange of noncompliance with continued listing standards due to the delay in filing Form 10-QSB with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the six months ending June 30, 2006.

However, the residential mortgage real estate investment trust said it expects to satisfy the Exchange’s continued listing requirements on or before Oct. 5.

In Atlanta, SunTrust Banks Inc. said the Securities and Exchange Commission notified it that a formal inquiry underway since January 2005 into matters concerning the restatement of financial statements for the first and second quarters 2004 was terminated and will not result in enforcement action.

The Washington Savings Bank F.S.B. recently announced the Office of Thrift Supervision terminated a March 2004 supervisory agreement and the subsequent June 2005 board resolution, adding that the bank continues to work on transforming by “reducing concentrations and risk within the loan portfolio, and in expanding loan and deposit products and services to be competitive within the industry.”

FirstBank consented to a cease and desist order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., agreeing to take certain actions to strengthen its compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, announced parent First BanCorp.

The reported consent order, which resulted from the FDIC’s Dec. 31, 2005, audit and does not impose any civil or monetary penalties, requires that FirstBank operate under adequate oversight by its management and board with respect to the act’s matters, implement systems of internal controls, independent testing and training programs to ensure full compliance with the act, and amend existing policies and procedures relating to internal and external audits for compliance with the act, among other things.

PHH Corp. said it received a combination of tenders and consents on behalf of approximately $979 million of the aggregate principal amount of the $1.081 billion of the securities subject to the previously announced tender offer. The requisite consents allows PHH to extend its deadline for delivering its financial statements under the indenture governing the securities until Dec. 31.

Franklin Bank announced it signed on to buy back from Equity Bank two banking branches located in Mount Vernon and Winnsboro, Texas, that it sold to Equity in 2004. It will pay an 8.5% deposit premium to Equity for the deal expected to complete the fourth quarter.

St. Louis will soon have a new mortgage provider, as Lou Fusz Automotive Network will enter the home loan market, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

Effective Friday, Ron Litt resigned from his position as president of Florida-based Advantage Credit International to return to Texas, the credit reporting agency announced.

Litt previously was the spokesman of Houston-based Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp., the self-described largest “privately held mortgage banker/broker in the U.S.”

“There are a number of opportunities I am considering,” Litt said in the announcement. “Although I was born in New York, I spent over 25 years in Texas. It is home.

Wisconsin-based Greystone Residential Funding Inc. announced it assigned Steve Bredeson as the director of its home equity lending division to help establish the company as a national leader in home equity lending.

Meanwhile, New South Federal Savings Bank named David W. Larson as its president and chief executive, filling a role previously held by Robert Couch, who was appointed by President Bush as head of Ginnie Mae, the Birmingham Business Journal reported.

Bancshares of Florida Inc. has inked an agreement to acquire Old Florida Bankshares Inc. in an $82.6 million transaction expected close in the first quarter 2007, according to a press release. The move will reportedly help its banking subsidiary be positioned as a premier community bank in Southwest Florida.

U.S. Bancorp said it completed the purchase of Vail Banks Inc. for $98.6 million, a transaction that expands its “footprint and distribution in rapidly growing and demographically attractive community markets in western Colorado and adds to the company’s existing base in Denver.”

In St. Louis, Commerce Bancshares Inc. said it completed acquiring West Pointe Bancorp Inc. on Friday for $80.9 million in stock and cash.

Wachovia Corp. is one step closer in acquiring Golden West Financial Corp., as shareholders of both companies approved the merger Thursday, according to a press release.

Missouri-based American Sterling Bank will soon acquire the wholesale and retail mortgage division of Universal Savings Bank, a merger that is expected to generate mortgage volume of at least $1.5 billion to $2 billion in the first year of operation, according to the Business Journal of Milwaukee.

Trump Mortgage LLC has acquired licenses in 15 states, the company announced.

“The company is expanding at a very rapid rate and I anticipate we will be awarded many additional state licenses in the very near future,” founder Donald Trump said in the written statement.

While the New York City-headquartered lender expects to soon be in every state, accreditation was recently gained in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Dakota, the company said.


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

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