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Strategic Positioning

Strategic PositioningRecent mortgage-related merger activity

December 21, 2004

By COCO SALAZAR

Deals, deals deals. From Florida to Texas, mergers and acquisitions are alive and kicking.

In Waterbury, Conn., Webster Financial Corp. announced it completed the acquisition of First City Bank — a deal in which it will pay approximately $33 million for outstanding First City shares.

The parent holding company of Webster Bank says it has $17.8 billion in assets and that during the third quarter it originated $432.1 million in residential mortgages.

At the time of acquisition, New Britain, Conn.-based First City reportedly had approximately $185.2 million in assets.

Collateral Mortgage Capital announced it will acquire CareyKramer Co. in a deal that will broaden its presence in Florida — one of its best markets — and support its strategy for nationwide growth. The merger is expected to close at yearend.

The move will put CareyKramer back into the agency market as it will gain access to Collateral’s licensed agency products, such as Freddie Mac and FHA-lending products, according to the announcement.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based company said its offices in Orlando and Jacksonville will join the CareyKramer’s Ft. Lauderdale-based operations to widen its platform and “immediately become one of the leading commercial mortgage banking firms in [Florida].”

CareyKramer reportedly expects to originate more than $700 million in loans in 2004, while Collateral expects to exceed its 2004 production target of over $2 billion.

CareyKramer’s servicing portfolio is approximately $1 billion, and is comprised of life insurance companies, securitized lenders and commercial banks. Collateral, which is the exclusive correspondent for its affiliate, New South Federal Savings Bank, services approximately $5.8 billion in commercial mortgage loans for more than 40 insurance companies, a number of securitized lenders, pension funds and commercial banks, as well as the GSEs, the announcement said.

The merged companies will operate under the name Collateral Mortgage Capital, LLC, with 16 offices throughout the country and reportedly create one of the nation’s leading privately held commercial mortgage lending/servicing firms.

Early this month, Franklin Bank Corp. announced the closing of its acquisition of Seven Points, Texas-based Cedar Creek Bancshares Inc. for approximately $11 million in cash and over 670,000 Franklin common stock shares.

The Houston, Texas-based buying company said the acquisition of Cedar Creek will expand its banking presence in the East Texas market.

The acquired company’s Cedar Creek Bank was the third largest bank in Henderson County prior to merging into the Franklin’s mortgage banking subsidiary Franklin Bank S.S.B., the company said.

As scheduled, Peoples Bank announced it completed the acquisition of Advantage Bank’s Ashland and Summit, Ky., branches earlier this month.

The sale of the two branches was announced in September for closure in this quarter.

Peoples said it paid approximately $7.8 million in cash for the Kentucky branches, approximately $63 million in deposits and acquired fixed assets, and $43 million of loans at book value.

Peoples also reportedly finished consolidating some of its Ashland area offices due to overlapping caused by the merger.

Parent company Ohio-based Peoples Bancorp. reported that at Sept. 30, real estate loans, which include construction loans, totaled $345.5 million, an increase of over $20 million throughout the year.

Ohio-based Camco Financial Corp., the parent company of Advantage, reported that loan originations for the nine months ended Sept. 30, were comprised primarily of $145.7 million of loans secured by one-to four-family residential real estate, and also $73.0 million in loans secured by commercial real estate.

In Richmond, Va., LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. announced it closed on the acquisition of LoanCare Servicing Center Inc.

The acquisition of the nation’s tenth largest mortgage subservicing company is “a strategic step toward reaching LandAmerica’s goal of becoming the premier provider of real estate transaction services” as it gives it entry into the subservicing market to further fulfill needs of its growing client base, according to the announcement.

As of Sept. 20, Norfolk, Va.-headquartered LoanCare subserviced approximately 45,000 loans for over 100 entities in 50 states and the District of Columbia, with outstanding principal balances of approximately $5 billion.


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

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