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Redwood Trust CFO exits firm

Redwood Trust Chief Financial Officer Diane Merdian left the Mill Valley, Calif., real estate investment trust.

Redwood and Merdian entered into a separation agreement that pays her $200,000 for the forfeiture of all unvested equity-based awards previously awarded to her under a company incentive plan.

The reasons for her departure are unclear at this time.

The firm reported a taxable loss of $1 million during the fourth quarter, compared to a taxable loss of $6 million a year earlier as the firm took a negative hit in market valuation adjustments.

Redwood is the only firm issuing private-label residential mortgage backed securities. The company's latest earnings report lists plans to continue to do so, with up to six likely to come in 2012.

Analysts are positive on most residential MBS REITs as dividends continue to drive returns for the group. Redwood was one of the worst fourth quarter performers in the sector, but has been one of the strongest performers in the space so far in the first quarter of 2012.

"Our objective for 2012 is to acquire approximately $2 billion of residential loans from 30 to 40 originators," Redwood stated in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "We are now planning four to six securitization transactions, including one transaction that we completed in January 2012."

In January, Redwood appointed Brett Nicholas as president, a title previously held by Chief Executive Martin Hughes.

The separation agreement with Merdian contains other standard terms and provisions related to confidentiality, release of claims and arbitration.


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