Platinum Capital has hired Keefe, Bruyette & Woods to advise it in its search for a strategic partner to take a minority stake in the company, Platinum chief executive, Mark Moses, said last week.

Platinum originates prime and subprime first mortgages and high loan-to- value home equity loans. The company's prime mortgages are originated through a network of about 20 alliances with real estate firms in the Los Angeles area, while the home equity paper is written from a centralized sales platform in Irvine.

Platinum serves 15 states via telemarketing, direct mail, Internet, and radio advertising.

Mr. Moses said Platinum is looking for an investor in part to help maintain a 400% growth rate. He said the company expects to write about $500 million in home equity loans this year.

Additionally, Platinum wants its partner to bring strategic capabilities to build Platinum's strengths. "We're looking for someone with a servicing platform who has experience that can lead us through the securitization process," Mr. Moses said.

Platinum also has its eye on the public equity markets. "We do have plans to go public sometime next year," Mr. Moses said.

The company is preparing for the expansion. Platinum recently hired Jack Daly, former president of Glenfed Mortgage and an alumnus of Fleet Mortgage and Security Pacific Bank, as its chief operating officer.

The company also hired Joe Gekko from Master Financial to head its wholesale unit and Reginald Ross, formerly from Torrance, Calif.-based Del Amo Savings Bank, to head the subprime mortgage originations unit.

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