Magazine article American Banker

1st Tennessee Close to Deal for Dallas Home Lender

Magazine article American Banker

1st Tennessee Close to Deal for Dallas Home Lender

Article excerpt

First Tennessee Bank, continuing an aggressive push into home lending, is forging a deal to buy Sunbelt National Mortgage Co., a major mortgage bank in Dallas, according to placed sources.

The acquisition, expected to be announced as early as today, could make First Tennessee one of the top 20 mortgage originators in the country and one of the top 35 servicers. Until recently, it was a virtual unknown on the national mortgage scene.

Part of a Trend

The deal would be the latest in a series of mortgage banking acquisitions by commercial banks. Earlier this year, for example, PNC Corp. agreed to buy Sears Mortgage Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp. acquired Troy & Nichols, a sizable mortgage bank in Louisiana.

Just three months ago, First Tennessee itself announced an agreement to buy Maryland National Mortgage Corp. - a company similar in size to Sunbelt - for $116 million in cash.

Terms of the latest deal could not be learned, but observers suggested the price would belower than that of the Maryland National acquisition - possibly around $80 million.

A First Tennessee official declined to comment, and Sunbelt officials could not be reached for comment.

Sunbelt is owned by an investor group headed by Thomas J. Wageman and including Continental Equity Venture Capital, the direct investment arm of Continental Bank.

The group purchased Sunbelt from the Resolution Trust Corp. in August of 1992. The company had been a unit of Sunbelt Savings, which was seized in 1991. …

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