Magazine article American Banker

Green Tree CEO-Designate Aims to Add Market Share

Magazine article American Banker

Green Tree CEO-Designate Aims to Add Market Share

Article excerpt

By HEATHER TIMMONS Manufactured housing giant Green Tree Financial Corp. is looking to pick up market share as peers leave the business, said newly named chief executive officer Bruce Crittenden.

Specialty finance companies have had a difficult year, and many pared back operations when capital funding dried up. But do not expect the same problems at Green Tree, Mr. Crittenden said.

"There are two things that differentiate Green Tree," he said in an interview. "We've been there through thick and thin, and we've got a great credit culture."

The St. Paul-based company, founded 25 years ago, was bought this year by insurer Conseco Inc., Carmel, Ind. In addition to manufactured housing loans, Green Tree makes home equity, consumer, and credit card loans.

As competitors scramble for capital, Green Tree will be concentrating on "picking our opportunities" and cross-selling products with Conseco, Mr. Crittenden said.

Last week, Conseco announced that Green Tree founder and CEO Lawrence Coss would leave the company. The move is a sign that the acquisition is going as planned, executives from the two companies said.

Mr. Coss felt "absolutely no pressure" to leave, said Thomas Kilian, Conseco's chief operations officer.

He and Conseco chief executive Steve Hilbert "had discussed this ahead of time. We had a plan; it just happened earlier than some folks thought," Mr. Kilian said.

Mr. Coss, who earned notoriety both for Green Tree's fast growth and for his huge pay packages, will take with him $30 million in compensation and a bundle of perks. …

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