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Credit Reporters, Credit Unions Among Mergers

Credit Reporters, Credit Unions Among Mergers

Recent mergers, acquisitions and other corporate announcements

November 9, 2005


photo of Coco Salazar
Many of the nation’s credit unions will start using the same mortgage company used by many of the nation’s Realtors.

Bimini Mortgage Management Inc. recently completed the acquisition of privately-held lender Opteum Financial Services LLC.

The move “allows Bimini to diversify its revenue stream while remaining in the company’s area of expertise,” said Jeffrey Zimmer, Bimini chairman, cofounder, president and chief executive, in the announcement. “For Opteum, the merger provides increased access to capital to fund expanded growth opportunities.”

Opteum will continue to operate from its headquarters in Paramus, N.J., as a taxable real estate investment trust subsidiary of Vero Beach, Fla.-based Bimini, according to the announcement.

Bimini said it lent Opteum approximately $65 million to repay existing debt and may pay a contingent cash and convertible preferred share earn-out of up to $17.5 million over the next five years to Opteum stockholders, based on achievement by Opteum of certain specific financial objectives.

First Banks Inc., St. Louis, Mo., announced it completed acquiring Northway State Bank.

“This acquisition provides an exciting enhancement to our growing Chicago franchise,” First Banks stated in the announcement.

Northway, which is based in Grayslake, Ill., and operates one banking office, said the merger will provide it with an “expanded branch” network and extensive menu of products and financial services, including mortgage banking.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., First Advantage Corp. said it acquired the mortgage credit reporting assets of Credit Data Services from Experian as a continuance of its growth strategy.

Credit Data’s mortgage business reportedly provides mortgage credit and real estate services to national lenders and mortgage brokers, with a concentration of customers in the Southeast. Thus, the deal gives additional market share in this region to First Advantage’s mortgage credit company, First American CREDCO.

Experian, one of the “Big 3” credit reporting agencies, acquired the Maitland, Fla.-based provider of consumer credit, business information services and mortgage services earlier this year, but is selling the mortgage credit reporting assets as part of a joint venture agreement with First Advantage’s parent.

First American CREDCO is reportedly the preferred distributor of Experian credit reports to the mortgage finance sector.

PHH Mortgage said Monday it purchased the mortgage assets of CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corp.

The move doubles the number of credit unions PHH provides mortgages to, from 500 to more than 1,000, and increases the servicing portfolio for credit unions to about $16 billion, according to PHH’s announcement. CUNA Mutual Mortgage reportedly was servicing approximately $10 billion in loans with credit unions nationwide.

However, the transaction CUNA Mutual Mortgage said it decided on to ensure “its credit union customers and their members receive best-in-class mortgage services” will reportedly result in 175 job losses, a majority of them in Wisconsin.

Under the terms of the deal, PHH Mortgage also assumed origination, servicing, and sub-servicing contracts of CUNA Mutual Mortgage, which mainly had loan originations from wholesale and correspondent channels and had volume of approximately $1 billion in the past year.

PHH, which was recently spun off by Cendant Corp. — the owner of national real estate franchises Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA — said it will not “cross-sell any products and services that may compete with a credit union’s product menu.”

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for

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