Mortgage servicer AmeriNat refiles for industrial bank charter

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The loan servicer AmeriNational Community Services has refiled for an industrial banking charter with the state of Nevada and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Las Vegas company, which is a subsidiary of the Minnesota asset management firm O'Brien-Staley Partners, services about $12 billion in loans, primarily government-backed mortgages.

AmeriNat had previously filed an application in October and withdrew it.

Frank Pignanelli, the executive director of the National Association of Industrial Bankers, said that regulators had identified problems with AmeriNat’s original application and that the company has addressed those concerns.

"We're excited about the application,” Pignanelli said. “I don't know how anyone can oppose it.”

AmeriNat is planning to form AmeriNat Bank, which would be based in Las Vegas, if the charter is approved. There are plans to expand into Small Business Administration lending and deposit management. The company would still plan to appoint AmeriNat CEO Adrienne Thorson to run the bank.

Thorson said in a statement Wednesday that her group has “worked closely with the Nevada Financial Institutions Division and the FDIC in preparing our application.”

Thorson was not available for further comment about what changes the firm made to the application.

So-called ILCs enjoy an FDIC guarantee on their deposits while avoiding banking holding company requirements.

The charters have become a controversial issue of late as financial technology companies are trying to use them as a way into the U.S. banking system. The payments giant Square and the Japanese online retail company Rakuten have filed applications for ILCs recently.

Community banks and other industry critics have generally opposed awarding ILC charters to nonfinancial companies, arguing that they are are taking advantage of a loophole in federal laws to expand more broadly into financial services.

Both the American Bankers Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America are reviewing AmeriNat's application, according to representatives from the groups.

The FDIC has not approved an ILC since 2008, when the agency granted one for the commercial lender CapitalSource in Bethesda, Md. CapitalSource was acquired in 2013 by PacWest Bancorp in Los Angeles.

There has been a lot of sensitivity among regulators around ILCs and who would own these companies, said V. Gerard Comizio, senior counsel at Fried Frank and a former U.S. Treasury official. Still, he said, there are enough applications in the pipeline that he believes that the FDIC will soon act on them.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if after Labor Day you start to see the staff geared up to do some approvals,” Comizio said.

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Community charters ILCs Mortgages FDIC Square