HomeSide VPs to Open 'Microservicer'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two senior vice presidents from HomeSide Lending are leaving the home lending giant to start their own mortgage servicing company.Philip G. Laren, 43, and Ann Mackey, 41, will base their venture in Jacksonville. Unlike HomeSide, which services $145 billion of loans, the firm will be a "microservicer" by design, Mr. Laren said. It will focus on quirky loans that require too much work to be profitable for the big servicers, and its portfolio will grow no larger than $15 billion.

The firm may also invest in idiosyncratic mortgage-backed securities that Wall Street firms have difficulty selling, such as B-pieces or interest-only strips, Mr. Laren said.

Mr. Laren ran acquisitions of servicing rights and hedging of the servicing portfolio for HomeSide, and Ms. Mackey oversaw finance and accounting for the National Australia Bank unit.

- Marc Hochstein


Commercial Loans Rise $7.9B in Week

WASHINGTON - Commercial and industrial loans at U.S. commercial banks rose $7.9 billion in the week that ended Jan. 12, to $1.006 trillion, Federal Reserve figures showed Friday.During the previous week, commercial and industrial lending - considered a gauge of business activity - fell $7.5 billion. Over the past four weeks, such loans have fallen $1.8 billion overall.

Commercial and industrial loans at the largest large banks rose to a seasonally adjusted $587.2 billion in the latest reporting, from $586.2 billion the previous week, the Fed said.

- Bloomberg News


Mortgage Insurer to Launch Web 'Hub'

MILWAUKEE - Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. is expected to announce today that it has set up a subsidiary that is building an Internet "communications hub" for the mortgage industry.eMagic.com LLC initially will provide the same services that MGIC has offered on its Magic Carpet Web site, which originators can use to order mortgage insurance from the Milwaukee company or to submit loans to Fannie Mae's Desktop Underwriter or to Freddie Mac's loan prospector.

The goal is to give brokers and loan officers access to a host of other services from wholesalers and vendors. The company created a new subsidiary and brand name for the site to show that it is not a tool to drive mortgage insurance business to MGIC.

MGIC plans to invite other mortgage insurers to offer their insurance products on eMagic.com.

- Marc Hochstein


Provident Says Quarterly Profit Up 92%

MONTEBELLO, N.Y. - Provident Bancorp reported a 92% jump in net income for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, to $1.4 million , or 17 cents a share.The bank holding company also announced a quarterly cash dividend of four cents a share, up a penny from its previous quarter.

The $830-million-asset company reported modest loan growth of 1%, to $572 million during the quarter, which is the first quarter of its fiscal year, and deposit growth of 0.8%, to $592 million.

Interest income grew by $1.8 million over the quarter, mostly due to the increased loan volume, acquisition of higher-yielding securities, and upward adjustment of variable rate loans, the company said.

Interest expense grew by $861,000 in the quarter.

- Charles Keenan

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