Fremont Frozen: Troubled S&L Will Explore Sale as Liquidity Concerns Mount
The parent of Fremont Investment & Loan said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday that it may sell itself as the former subprime giant finds itself caught up in the latest round of the mortgage industry's credit crunch. Fremont said it would likely record write-downs and loss reserve charges that would "further erode" capital beyond the $448.6 million in total equity capital it reported to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on January 20. The FDIC has recently been gearing up for an expected spate of bank failures, and the disclosure of problems anew at Fremont led investors to a wild selling spree Friday, with the stock dropping below $1 per share on liquidity concerns. Standard & Poor's also said Friday that it would remove Fremont from its SmallCap index amid the massive sell-off in the Brea-based bank's stock. Moody's Investors Service didn't wait to downgrade the troubled S&L, saying that it believed Fremont faced "poor liquidity" and "no sustainable franchise and it faces severe asset quality and capital problems." Earlier this week, Housing Wire reported that Fremont was the subject of a preliminary injuction in Massachusetts that restricts its ability to foreclose on properties it services within the state. The former subprime high-flyer exited the business in March after receiving a cease-and-desist order from the FDIC, and said it September that a slated purchase of its real estate and subprime business had fallen through. For previous coverage of Fremont at Housing Wire, click here. Disclosure: The author held no positions in FMT when this story was originally published. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.