Two pools of home equity loans worth $2.2 billion are on the block, according to observers and executives in the industry.
The bundles of loans from ITT Consumer Financial Corp., Minneapolis, and GE Capital Mortgage Corp., Raleigh, N.C., are among the largest to come to market in recent memory.
The buyer for at least part of ITT's $1.2 billion of home equity loans is believed to be Transamerica Financial Services Co., Los Angeles, according to industry executives.
Officials at GE, Transamerica, and ITT declined to comment.
ITT Corp. has been engaged in a concerted effort to get out of the financial services industry over the last several months. The company will focus instead on the leisure and entertainment industries.
ITT has already sold significant chunks of ITT Financial Corp. In December, the company sold its ITT Commercial Finance unit to Deutsche Bank AG for a reported $4 billion.
Meanwhile, Transamerica is trying to expand its home equity lending operation by purchasing loans from other lenders, said Jack E. Nelson, a special project manager who has since retired. The company believes it can sell additional lines to borrowers whose loans they service, he said.
Mr. Nelson also said that the company would buy an additional $900 million of home equity loans from an undisclosed lender.
Transamerica has conducted negotiations toward purchasing $500 million of home equity loans from GE Capital.
GE is believed to have another $1 billion of home equity loans on the block, according to industry insiders.
A company spokesman said GE "never comments on deals until they are done."
He did emphasize that GE was not exiting the home equity lending business. "It's a good business for us," he said.
A GE spokeswoman said today's conditions in the home equity loan securitization market makes buying and selling whole loans more attractive. She said GE "always looking at deals."
David Olson, a Columbia, Md., consultant specializing in home equity lending, said GE's sale is a result of poor pricing by the corporate giant. He said GE was too aggressive with their pricing to create originations volume last year.
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Sanwa Bank California is rolling out a new home equity loan it hopes will help it beef up its market share in the Golden State.
The bank will offer a home equity loan with an initial rate of 6.40% for the first six months (8.19% APR), one of the lowest initial interest rates available from any major bank, it said.
Sanwa is also hoping to lure new borrowers by bundling the loan with such enticements as no-fee credit cards and free safety deposit boxes.