John Robbins, who five years ago sold his nonbank mortgage firm to Wachovia at a nice profit, is looking to reenter the industry, according to  officials familiar with his plans.

One advisor who knows Robbins said he has private equity backing and is in the midst of negotiating a deal for a mid-sized nondepository. "The last I heard there was a letter of intent," said the official, requesting his name not be used.

Robbins, who could not be reached for comment, has recruited some of the former executive team at American Mortgage Network, San Diego, the firm that he sold to Wachovia back in 2005. (Wachovia is now owned by Wells Fargo.)

He has been looking at mortgage banking opportunities for well over a year, according to friends in the industry.

Besides, building AmNet, he also served as chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association from 2006 to 2007.

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