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Lehman Brothers, RTC Veterans Launch $1.5bn REO Fund

Richard Stewart Jr., chairman and CEO of Heritage Capital Resources, and Peter Monroe, CEO and founder of National Real Estate Ventures, on Tuesday announced they formed a $1.5bn joint venture to buy and sell distressed residential real estate-owned (REO) assets. The new $1.5bn fund's co-founders bring a history in mortgages and financial regulation. Stewart, previously vice chairman of Lehman Brothers, joins Monroe, former president of the Resolution Trust Corp Oversight Board under Presidents Bush and Clinton and chief operating officer of the Federal Housing Administration. "In the depressed real estate market that we see today, the greatest asset we have is experience and the trust of those who will continue to join our efforts," Stewart said in a statement. "The group's combined experience includes working within the inevitable booms and busts of real estate and capital markets, and within the framework of public and private partnerships." "With the correct application of these principles," Stewart added, "we can help thousands of families, effect serious, positive change in the housing markets, and find opportunities on both sides of the cycle." The joint venture will team up with Partners in Action, a not-for-profit founded by Curtis Cluff and that assists first-time homebuyers through its HUD-approved affordable housing program. Monroe, Stewart, and Cluff jointly said, "We believe that our relationships, management skills and interest in preserving sustainable homeownership can help return foreclosed homes to productive use, prevent many foreclosures and also allow us to work with banks, servicers and federal agencies to reduce evictions. These goals, as stated by the Administration, are central to our nation's economic recovery." The joint venture marks the second high-profile partnership unveiled today after a former president and CEO of Ginnie Mae and former FHA commissioner teamed up to form a new advisory firm to the financial services industry. Write to Diana Golobay.

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