Express America Holdings is fielding offers for its $6.5 billion portfolio of loan servicing rights, according to well-placed sources.
This represents a reversal of course for the Arizona-based mortgage bank, which recently ended an effort to sell itself.
Express America pulled the company from the market in July, sources said, after offers failed to measure up to its expectations.
However, the company has since received "a handful" of offers for all or pan of its servicing portfolio.
Express America officials declined to comment.
Though the names of the interested parties could not be learned, a source close to the deal indicated that they were commercial banks, some of which were interested in gaining a servicing center in the Pacific time zone. Express America services loans at Scottsdale, Ariz., which is in the Mountain time zone, but it operates on Western time for about half the year.
If a large servicing sale-occurs, it could have an immediate salutary effect on Express America's stock, according to analyst William L. Baldwin of Rauscher Pierce Refsnes, a Dallas brokerage company. Shares of the company fell sharply when it was pulled from the market, from just over $10 a share to just over $7.
"With a price of 130-140 basis points being not unreasonable [for servicing rights], you could see the stock price go to $9 or $9.50," said Mr. Baldwin, who rates the company a "market performer."
At 130 basis points, Express America's portfolio would fetch about $88 million. Prices of servicing have been a bit more generous recently because only a few large portfolios remain available. The Resolution Trust Corp. has already received bids for the portfolio of Standard Federal of Maryland, and a few other sales are now being negotiated.
Express America has some $38 million of term debt underlying the rights, according to Mr. Baldwin. The question that would then remain is what Express America would do with its remaining assets, principally a large wholesale loan originations network.
Wholesale is out of favor with buyers, making a sale a less lucrative alternative. The company would have a number of options, according to Mr. Baldwin, including investing the money in a new or related line of business or paying a dividend to shareholders.