Magazine article American Banker

American Residential Bulks Up to Survive

Magazine article American Banker

American Residential Bulks Up to Survive

Article excerpt

As mortgage industry veterans go, John Robbins is one of the most authentic on the scene.

As founder and chief executive of American Residential Mortgage Corp., La Jolla, Calif., Mr. Robbins has taken his company from anonymity to national prominence not once, not twice, but three times over the past decade.

American Residential's agreement two weeks ago to buy Fort Worth-based Foster Mortgage Co. is his latest move to secure a bright future for the company.

He started the company in 1983 as a unit of the old Imperial Savings. It was sold in 1988 to First Nationwide Bank, a unit of Ford Motor Co. When Ford threatened two years later to shut down or sell the company, Mr. Robbins and his management team pooled their money and organized a buyout.

Last year, Mr. Robbins led the company in going public, a move that has proved spectacularly successful and has firmly reestablished American Residential in the upper ranks of the mortgage industry.

"We certainly had times when the long-term outlook was a little bleak," Mr. Robbins said about the company's past.

While American Residential's purchase of Foster's $3.5 billion in servicing and its large servicing center in Fort Worth is puny compared with other recent servicing deals in the industry, it fits well with Mr. Robbins' plans.

By tripling the company's servicing capacity to $90 billion and bringing its current portfolio to almost $14.5 billion, the deal gives American Residential the space it needs to be a major player in the rapidly consolidating mortgage banking industry. …

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