Magazine article American Banker

BankAmerica Exec Tells What It Takes to Turn Home Lenders into Bankers

Magazine article American Banker

BankAmerica Exec Tells What It Takes to Turn Home Lenders into Bankers

Article excerpt

Nobody ever said it would be easy to blend the street-smart culture of a mortgage banking firm with the staid ways of a commercial bank. Arthur D. Ringwald should know.

As head of residential lending at BankAmerica Corp., Mr. Ringwald has guided the second-largest U.S. bank onto the mortgage acquisition trail.

In March 1994, the San Francisco company bought United Mortgage Corp., Minneapolis, for more than $100 million. Then BankAmerica expanded its reach to the East Coast, buying Arbor National Mortgage, Westbury, N.Y., for about $118 million. The deals helped push BankAmerica's servicing portfolio to $64.7 billion by yearend.

Mr. Ringwald, 49, joined BankAmerica in December 1993, after a four-year stint at Sears Mortgage Corp. He recently talked with American Banker about the challenges of making the acquisitions work.

Q.: What are the issues surrounding acquisitions?

RINGWALD: The acquisition issue that a number of us face is: How do you integrate the mentality of entrepreneurial people into the more managerial culture of a bank?

I think that we feel good about our acquisitions. One of the acid tests of that is that we have virtually no turnover, because we have been very attentive to their product.

We brought portfolio ARM products out there. They will now be competitive in all interest rate cycles.

Q.: How about an example of the difficulties in integrating a mortgage bank?

RINGWALD: Some of this may sound silly, but it used to be that if a mortgage banker wanted to buy a box at the Chicago Bulls stadium, he didn't have to talk to somebody about that. …

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