AIG unit American General Finance, Inc. will purchase Equity One, the U.S. consumer finance operations of Puerto Rico-based Popular, Inc., in a deal worth $1.5 billion. The sale includes “a signficant portion” of Equity One’s mortgage loan and consumer loan portfolio, Popular said in a press statement Wednesday morning. “We are doing the things we have to do in the U.S. mainland as we focus on our core banking franchise,” said Richard L. Carrion, CEO at Popular. Under the agreement, AIG will look to hire an unspecified number of Equity One’s employees and will consider retaining an unspecified number of branch locations — all remaining consumer branches will close, Popular said. It’s unclear how many Equity One employees are expected to lose their jobs, although both companies said affected employees will receive severance and job counseling. The deal is expected to close this quarter, and Popular said that it expects to take a $17.5 million charge in Q1 related to the sale.
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