Managers Buy First Horizon's HomeBanc

ATLANTA - HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. has been sold by its parent company, Irving, Tex.-based First Horizon Home Loans, a division of Memphis-based First Tennessee National Corp.Management and GTCR Golder Rauner LLC, a Chicago-based private equity firm, bought HomeBanc back from First Horizon for more than $60 million. HomeBanc originated $2.8 billion in loans last year and says it expects that to rise to $3 billion this year.

Pat Flood, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of HomeBanc, said HomeBanc and First Horizon differed over First Horizon's desire to unify its subsidiaries under its name.

Mr. Flood said he plans to continue to pursue a strategy of aggressive growth in the mortgage market and to possibly expand into insurance and other mortgage-related services. "We want to build a southeastern powerhouse in the housing industry," he said.

- Erick Bergquist


Bush, Gore Asked for Deposit Insurance Views

WASHINGTON - An industry group wants presidential candidates to weigh in on the debate over deposit insurance reform.In letters sent Monday, the Independent Community Bankers of America asked Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush for their positions on increasing the level of deposit insurance.

"If you are elected president," wrote ICBA president Tom Sheehan, "would you be receptive to adjusting the current level of FDIC insurance coverage to maintain continued consumer confidence in our diversified banking system and to ensure adequate core deposits are available for lending activities in our nation's communities?"

The group said inflation has eroded the $100,000 level of deposit insurance coverage by nearly half. If indexed for inflation, the coverage level today would be nearly $200,000.

At a roundtable last week sponsored by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the ICBA, along with the American Bankers Association and America's Community Bankers, said it supports doubling deposit insurance coverage and indexing it for inflation.


Performance Reports Now Posted Online

WASHINGTON - The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council announced Monday that it will make uniform bank-performance reports available to the public at www.ffiec.gov, effective immediately.The reports are designed to help bankers analyze the impact of management decisions and economic conditions and help bankers and examiners alike evaluate earnings, liquidity, capital, asset and liability management, and growth management.

Information is available on all insured banks, including those that have closed in the past five years. "The basic benefit of offering the reports on the Web site is greater public access to information about banks," said John Smullen, who coordinates the reports at the Exam Council.

The reports have always been available to the public, but there is a charge for copying them offline.

- Kevin Guerrero and Robert Sterling


Citibank May Offer Credit Cards in Israel

TEL AVIV - Citibank, which plans to open a corporate banking branch in Israel by the end of September, may also compete with Israeli institutions by offering credit cards and other retail services, the bank's new country manager said.Nandan Mer said Citibank, a unit of Citigroup Inc., could use its size and experience in consumer credit to offer better terms than are currently available in Israel from Bank Hapoalim Ltd., Bank Leumi, and other local banks.

Citibank plans to offer products to its corporate clients first and will decide within a year whether to offer credit cards and other retail services, Mr. Mer said.

Israel's credit card business has been in turmoil since government regulators last year broke up a partnership between Bank Leumi and Israel Discount Bank Ltd. that issued Visa cards to 900,000 customers. Bank Hapoalim, the biggest Israeli bank, markets a MasterCard and an American Express product.

- Bloomberg News

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