Prospect Mortgage closed on a deal to acquire retail mortgage branch operations from Impac Mortgage Tuesday.

On Dec. 18, Impac Mortgage Holdings Inc. (IMH) announced that starting Jan. 1, it would put its active "brick and mortar" retail lending branches on the block and close 23 retail branches and one fulfillment center in an effort to centralize lending operations and focus instead on its online lending operation.

Prospect’s acquisition will add about 40 loan officers to Prospect’s origination platform across 12 branches in California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This strategic acquisition will increase our local footprint in several key markets and strengthen our ability to serve homebuyers and real estate agents," said Doug Long, president of national lending. "It will allow us to extend our successful purchase-loan strategy and gain local market share."

Included in the acquisition are portions of Impac Mortgage’s operations team, including the hiring of approximately 15 operations personnel in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.

"We are seeing an increase in acquisition opportunities from independent mortgage bankers and brokers as 2014 begins," said Long. "As we continue to explore future acquisitions, we believe that our purchase-focused strategy along with our marketing capabilities, loan processing infrastructure and loan officer-centric resources will prove to be attractive in an operating environment in the mortgage industry that has become more complex."

In announcing Impac’s realignment in December, Impac Chairman and CEO Joe Tomkinson said that part of the impetus for the company changing its focus to online lending were the significant regulatory and compliance changes the industry faces going into 2014, including the slew of new regulations mandated by the Consumer Finance Protection Board regarding qualified mortgages (QM) which went into effect Jan. 10. Already some lawmakers are looking to find ways to loosen some of the QM rules for fear it will squeeze too may potential home buyers.

Prospect Mortgage is a top-10 national home purchase lender offering a full range of quality home loans, including FHA and VA, conventional, jumbo, renovation, and more. It is backed by Sterling Partners, a private equity firm with approximately $5 billion of assets under management and offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami.

Impac, which saw a 51.76% decline in its stock price over the past 52 weeks, was trading up 4.48% Tuesday before the sale was announced.

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