MADISON, Wis. - CUNA Mutual Group on Dec. 1 bought sole ownership of an affiliated mortgage company for $13.2 million.

Prior to the transaction the mutual insurer already was a 50% owner.

A source with the Credit Union National Association said the purchase price was as much as $4 million higher than anticipated.

With the purchase, CUNA Mutual acquires exclusive servicing rights to a $4 billion mortgage portfolio.

The sale essentially splits CUNA Mortgage in two.

Apart from the servicing group, a new entity created Dec. 1 will continue an existing alliance with PHH U.S. Mortgage Corp.

The venture - called CUNA Mortgage Assistance LLC - offers sales and relationship management as well as training to credit unions, while PHH U.S. Mortgage provides operational and technical existence.

CUNA Mortgage Assistance is jointly owned by CUNA Mutual and CUNA Service Group.

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