MARK POSNICK is a Brooklyn native who found his way to Dallas by way of Perth Amboy, N.J. Now, he says, he has a love affair with Dallas and intends to stay put.
But just the opposite is true of his Victoria Mortgage Co. The Texas company has just branched out into California with the acquisition of Western Bank Mortgage Corp. from Western Bank of Los Angeles.
And it is looking to spread its wings even further. Mr. Posnick says he is keeping his eyes peeled for acquisition candidates in the Midwest and in the East.
The California deal, which Victoria announced on Aug. 31, was strategic. Mr. Posnick says. While Victoria had been primarily a servicer, he wanted to build a balanced company with strength in originations as well.
"We did not have a production base, and the refinancing waves were eating into the earnings stream of the company," he said. "But it was a tough battle finding origination capacity to offset the runoff. You could have purchased production platforms a few years ago for next to nothing. Now you must pay substantial premiums over book value to get a solid production presence."
Mr. Posnick said the Western Bank deal was attractive because of the good. strategic fit and a management team that complemented Victoria's "without a lot of cultural clashes." He added that other potential deals had fallen through because of management conflicts.
But with Western, the chance to acquire an enthusiastic production team made the deal worth the "full" price Victoria paid, Mr. Posnick said.
Western Bank Mortgage added about $1.5 billion in servicing to Victoria's portfolio, bringing it to about $3.5 billion. Western originated about $1.2 billion in mortgages last year and Victoria is hoping to increase that number substantially. The companies did not announce a price, but industry sources said Western may have commanded a premium because of the quality of its business, possibly in the area of $30 million.
Mr. Posnick's background in the mortgage business appears to qualify him superbly to guide Victoria through its expansion. After leaving Margaretten in 1982, he joined Criterion Financial Corp., a subsidiary of City Investing Co. that was intent on expanding in mortgage banking.
When City decided to divest the unit, he participated in a management buyout and ended up owning Criterion. He sold the company to a Texas thrift in 1988 and left in 1990.
Shortly thereafter, he was approached by two venture capital firms that saw "extraordinary opportunities from the consolidation taking place in "the industry," Mr. Posnick says.
They closed a deal to buy Victoria from the Resolution Trust Corp. on the last day of 1991. Mr. Posnick say$ the private company has done "extraordinarily well" under new ownership. Its improved balance between originations and servicing, along with Mr. Posnick's track record, suggest that more of the same lies ahead.