Magazine article Mortgage Banking

An Agent for Change in the Mortgage Industry

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

An Agent for Change in the Mortgage Industry

Article excerpt

The Deal Talk column normally deals with significant trends in the industry, particularly changes that affect the value of companies. My own expertise is in capital raising and mergers and acquisitions, and I have witnessed and participated in the buying, selling and public offerings of many mortgage companies. In the process, I've worked side-by-side with some of the industry's most successful executives. I know how valuable a really smart and insightful senior executive can be in this complex and ever-changing business of mortgage banking. That is why I would like to spend some time this month calling your attention to the career of one of the industry's finest.

This month's column is a tribute to Andy Woodward, whose 25-year career as a visionary mortgage banker created a resume that closely mirrors the evolution of the mortgage industry. Andy was a master of deal-making, and he presided over some of the most important transactions in mortgage banking history. His achievements, warmth and friendship touched many of us. It is unfortunate that we lost him suddenly on March 22, 2007. He passed in his sleep from an aneurysm at the age of 60. He was my colleague, my friend and, in many ways, my mentor.

Andy Woodward was born on Aug. 7, 1946, in Chester, South Carolina, to Mildred Faley Woodward and the late Andrew Dixon Woodward Sr. He was graduated from the University of South Carolina with an economics degree and with plans to become a numbers man. He also studied at the Arden House of Executive Bank Management School at Columbia University in New York.

He started his career with Bankers Trust of South Carolina. While still in college, he worked on a part-time basis collecting past-due accounts in the installment loan department. Once he graduated, he joined the company's management training program.

W.W. "Hootie" Johnson, who was then chairman and chief executive officer of Bankers Trust, persuaded Andy to move from banking into the mortgage industry, and he began working on various mergers and acquisitions in that area. Little did he know then that it would be his life's work.

During his 12 years with the company, he held many different roles. By 1983, Bankers Trust had become a top-10 mortgage company, and was sold to Fleet Financial Group.

It was around this time that I met Andy Woodward, and our paths crossed many times after that. In 1984, I worked at Salomon Brothers, and Fleet was a very good client of the firm. As Fleet decided to pursue various mortgage banking acquisitions, Andy and I would be a team. Another invaluable member of the team was Gary Bettin, now chief executive officer of Quatrro Mortgage Solutions Inc., who worked as Andy's operations chief for 18 years.

Bettin notes, "Andy just had a tremendous insight in terms of market and vision, and where the market was moving. More importantly, when you mentioned his name in the industry, everyone always recognized him as an individual. More importantly, he was always making sure that whenever he did an acquisition, his concern was always about the people that we were acquiring and how could we help them become part of the new organization."

Andy and I got to know each other even better when Fleet bought Security Pacific Mortgage in 1986. In 1988, he moved into the corporate arena at Fleet, leaving South Carolina for the company's Rhode Island headquarters. Charged with consolidating Fleet's mortgage businesses, he created one unified entity. In 1991, he became chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Mortgage Group Inc. We worked together again in 1992, when Fleet decided to take Fleet Mortgage Group public and Salomon Brothers was chosen as an underwriter of the issue.

This was a period when many mortgage companies tapped the public equity markets. Companies such as Margarettan Mortgage Co., American Residential Mortgage Corporation and North American Mortgage completed initial public offerings (IPOs). …

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