Fremont Unloads $4 Billion in Whole Loans
Fremont General Corporation (NYSE:FMT) said Wednesday that its investment and loan subsidiary has entered into whole loan sale agreements to sell approximately $4 billion of its sub-prime residential real estate loans at an unspecified discount. According to a press statement, the company said it has received approximately $950 million in cash from the first sale installment under the agreements, with the remaining sales under the agreements expected to be completed over the next several weeks. Fremont did not specify who it was selling its loans to, and calls to the company for comment were not returned by HW's publishing deadline. The troubled subprime lender is the latest to unload its loans in an effort to generate liquidity, with San Diego-based Accredited Home Lenders announcing last week that it had sold $2.7 billion in whole loans to an unspecified buyer for a substantial discount. Housing Wire, based on accounts from anonymous sources close to the deal, reported March 18 that the Accredited deal involved private investment firm Fortress Investment Group, which owns subprime lender and servicer Nationstar Mortgage. Fortress subsidiary Newcastle Investment Corporation (NYSE:NCT), a publicly-held REIT, purchased a portfolio of loans for $1.7 billion, although it did not specify the seller in its statement to the press. "Subprime loans are going for 60 cents on the dollar right now," said one source, on the condition of anonymity. "Holding that standard up to the Fremont deals, it means the collective buyers probably paid $2.7 billion to take the portfolio off of Fremont's hands." For its part, underscoring the substantial discounts involved, Fremont said it estimates that the sale of the approximately $4 billion of its sub-prime residential loans will result in a pre-tax loss of approximately $140 million.