Pacific Guaranty Mortgage Co. said it would merge with Chicago's Prism Mortgage Co. to form the nation's largest independently owned mortgage broker and a top-20 retail loan originator.

The combined companies originated $3.6 billion in loans last year and more than $2 billion in the four months ended in April. Each company is closing $600 million in mortgage loans a month, said William Osenton, president of Pacific Guaranty.

Pacific Guaranty would operate as a subsidiary of Prism Mortgage. Prism, which was founded in 1992, has 25 branches in the Midwest and 550 employees.

Pacific Guaranty, a 12-year-old company, has 200 brokers and makes loans through branches, real estate agency affiliations, and affinity relationships.

There will be no staff cuts, said Mr. Osenton. Rather, plans are to increase employment dramatically.

Both Prism and Pacific Guaranty sell off all the loans they make.

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