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Mergers Go On

Mergers Go OnHibernia acquisition price lowered

September 12, 2005



While Hurricane Katrina packed a deadly punch, it wasn’t enough to knock out a number of mortgage-related transactions — including the acquisition of a New Orleans-based bank.

The proposal for Associated Banc-Corp to acquire State Financial Services Corp. and its subsidiary State Financial Bank N.A. was approved by the Federal Reserve Board, according to an announcement Thursday.

Prior to approval, a commenter of the proposal said that 2003 HMDA data indicated that Associated Bank had low levels of home mortgage lending to low- to moderate-income and minority borrowers, as well as properties on low to moderate-income census tracts, the Fed said.

However, the Fed said the institution’s efforts demonstrated that it was active in helping to meet the credit needs of its entire communities.

Both companies operate in Wisconsin.

In Paramus, N.J., Opteum Financial Services recently announced its acquisition of Integrity Home Funding LLC.

Opteum said it acquired the Maywood, N.J.-based privately owned mortgage banker “because of its outstanding track record of success in the New Jersey and New York markets, innovative product portfolio and seasoned staff of dedicated mortgage professionals.”

Integrity indicated that Opteum’s “commitment to customer service, superior technology and reputation in the industry” motivated the merger.

Opteum will maintain the current Maywood and Linden locations of Integrity, which like Opteum, operates wholesale and retail channels, the announcement said.

In New York, OfficeTiger announced it will acquire MortgageRamp, a provider of business-process outsourcing and technology solutions for the global real estate finance industry.

“MortgageRamp’s veteran knowledge and existing talent pool of 300 associates and network of more than 2,000 experienced real estate finance professionals will expand our financial management services division to include real estate finance support services,” said OfficeTiger co-CEO Randolph Altschuler in the announcement.

“The agreement solidifies OfficeTiger’s position as a global sourcing solutions provider offering integrated onsite-offshore services through a presence in multiple geographies,” he added.

Under the merger agreement, MortgageRamp will become the Global Real Estate Division of OfficeTiger and continue being headed by its CEO Ken Beyer.

Beyer said in the announcement that the merger will allow the companies to “offer a global financial services platform that leverages an integrated onsite-offshore delivery capability to support the entire mortgage life cycle for the commercial and residential real estate finance industries.”

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Capital One Financial Corp. announced its acquisition of New Orleans-headquartered Hibernia Corp. was renegotiated.

The price tag on the deal has been reduced by 9% to $5 billion, the companies jointly announced last week. The amended transaction is now expected to close in the fourth quarter.

“Hibernia’s business critical systems are up and running to support open branches and the bank’s customers,” the announcement said, which also noted 60 out 107 branches impacted by the hurricane have yet to reopen, and “21 appear to have sustained significant damage.”

Hibernia reportedly operates a total of 321 locations.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

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