A Chicago private-equity firm has acquired a mortgage company from a struggling Milwaukee bank.

CIVC Partners announced Tuesday that it bought Shelter Mortgage from the $1.15 billion-asset Guaranty Financial (GFCJ). The price was undisclosed.

Shelter is a nearly 30-year-old mortgage originator focused on conforming loans it gets by partnering with real estate agents, builders and relocation firms. It has 170 loan officers and is licensed to do business in 28 states, CIVC said in a press release.

CIVC has arranged $200 million in mortgage warehouse financing for the business with JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Guaranty to fund future originations.

The sale is CIVC's fourth investment in the mortgage market since 1992. It also invested $50 million into Wintrust Financial (WTFC) in August 2008.

Guaranty likely looked to sell the business as a way to help bring in some additional capital. At Dec. 31 its Guaranty Bank unit had a leverage ratio of 1.06%, making it critically undercapitalized.

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