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Mortgage Deals Keep on Rolling

Mortgage Deals Keep on Rolling

Recent mergers, acquisitions and corporate announcements

October 31, 2005

By COCO SALAZAR

photo of Coco Salazar
The pace of mortgage industry consolidation is showing no signs of relenting.

In a continued effort to build brand recognition since the public offering of its shares last year by former parent General Electric Co., Genworth Financial announced it will incorporate tomorrow the “Genworth” name in seven of its mortgage insurance and mortgage contract services companies to replace the “GE” or “General Electric” names they currently carry.

In Columbus, Ga. today, Synovus announced it will acquire Naples Banking Corporation of Florida in a tax-free, common stock exchange deal.

Synovus said purchasing the Naples, Fla.-based parent of First Florida Bank will extend its footprint into three “very attractive” markets in the southern coastal and central areas of the Orange State.

The merger will benefit First Florida, which has two branches and one loan production office, with “tremendous growth opportunities” and “a higher level of available products and services,” according to the announcement.

Pulaski Financial Corp. announced Tuesday it will acquire CWE Bancorp Inc. in a transaction valued at $7.6 million. The merger of the two St. Louis-based companies is expected to be completed next quarter.

CWE provides residential mortgages through its Central West End Bank unit.

CWE’s two banking locations are in “an important, growing part of St. Louis that is underserved,” and will give Pulaski the platform to accelerate growth in the central west end part of the city, said William Donius, Pulaski chairman and chief executive, in the announcement.

FCB Bancorp reported it completed acquiring South Coast Bancorp Inc. for $36 million in cash as of Sept. 30.

FCB, formerly First California Bank, reportedly reorganized into a holding company of the bank to facilitate the acquisition of South Coast, among other reasons.

With the merger, FCB will also have under its arm subsidiary South Coast Commercial Bank, which has two full-service offices and two loan production offices in four different California counties.

FCB said, in a written statement, the transaction will expand FCB into the “very attractive market of Orange County and with the ability to provide to South Coast Commercial Bank customers new products and services from our broader product line and higher lending limits.”

In Greensburg, Ind., MainSource Financial Group Inc. said Wednesday it will acquire HFS Bank in a $36.1 million deal expected to close in the second quarter 2006.

The parent of MainSource Mortgage LLC will merge HFS into one of its newly formed subsidiaries and plans to continue operating all current HFS offices under the “MainSource” name, the announcement said.

MainSource, which recently announced would soon acquire Peoples Ohio Financial Corp. to gain foothold in Ohio, said HFS will allow it to establish a presence in two Northwest Indiana counties.

On Thursday, almost three months since first disclosing that Popular Inc. would acquire E-Loan Inc., the two companies announced they intend to close the deal effective Nov. 1, prior to the opening of business.

The $300-million acquisition of the online lender will reportedly compliment the existing nonprime and warehouse lending businesses of Popular, a Puerto Rican financial institution with U.S. operations, as well as significantly enhance its technology.


Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.E-mail: s3celeste@aol.com

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