business and will focus on other areas of finance, including equipment leasing and auto lending. In its shrinking role as a mortgage banker, Imperial Credit will stress originating and securitizing subprime loans. "We have been diversifying our business since mid-1993 because we anticipated our mortgage business to be less in 1994 than it was in 1993," said Wayne Snavely, chairman and chief executive of Imperial Credit. Imperial originated some $764 million in conventional home loans in the first half of this year, ranking No. 42 among originators. Volume was down sharply from its 1993 performance, when it was No. 26. It remains one of the largest publicly traded mortgage companies. In 1993, ICI bought Southern Pacific Thrift and Loan. To begin its shift in focus, it launched a division to originate and acquire multifamily and commercial loans. ICI also started a consumer lending division to originate consumer loans and second mortgages. That year, Southern Pacific Leasing was started, offering equipment lease financing and warehouse lines of credit to other leasing companies. Imperial acquired four companies this year. The first deal was in March, when ICI purchased First Concord, Denver, an equipment leasing company. The leasing operations from First Concord were joined with the leasing division from Southern Pacific. The combined operation was spun off into Imperial Business Credit, a subsidiary. The next acquisition was of Franchise Mortgage Acceptance Corp. in June. The company funds purchases of large franchises. In September, ICI purchased Coast Business Credit, which provided accounts receivable services and funding for independent companies. In April this year, ICI agreed to purchase San Francisco Thrift and Loan, which will operate as a branch of Southern Pacific. In September, Imperial Credit spun off its jumbo conduit with an initial stock offering to form a real estate investment trust that buys and securitizes jumbo loans. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based unit is called Imperial Credit Mortgage Holdings. "Through diversification in the last two years we have not made mortgage banking our focal point," Mr. Snavely said. He expects the conforming mortgage business to be sold by the end of the year. But Mr. Snavely said that Imperial was not going to become a finance company, even though it strongly resembles one now. Imperial, he said, has not diversified dramatically, but rather focused on what it does well - selling on the secondary market. "We are still geared to sell products on the secondary market," Mr. Snavely said. The only difference is in the product, he added.
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