Old Kent Mortgage Co., continuing a westward expansion, said it has bought a mortgage company with 17 offices in California and Oregon.
The unit of Old Kent Financial Corp. in Grand Rapids, Mich., added $1.76 billion in servicing through its acquisition Friday of National Pacific Mortgage Corp. in Anaheim, Calif. Terms of the deal were not announced, but one mortgage industry investment banker estimated the cost at about $30 million, based on the servicing portfolio size.
The acquisition nudges Old Kent Mortgage a little closer to its goal of becoming a national lender. The expansion began in October, when the company moved into Idaho, Nevada, and Utah through its purchase of Republic Mortgage Corp. in Salt Lake City. Before then, the mortgage company operated in the same states as its bank affiliates: Michigan, Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois.
David C. Schneider, chief financial officer at Old Kent Mortgage, said that the acquisition was well timed, adding that he believes California's housing market has bottomed out and is on its way back up.
"To be a national lender, you have to be in California," Mr. Schneider said Monday in a telephone interview. Old Kent had stayed away from the Golden State, awaiting signs of a housing market rebound, he said.
Before the acquisition, Old Kent was on track to originate some $3 billion in home loans this year. National Pacific will allow the company to originate about $4.2 billion, Mr. Schneider said. The acquisition will put Old Kent's servicing portfolio at more than $10 billion.
National Pacific's principals, Steven P. Ginder, president and chief executive, and Charles S. Sale 2d, chief financial officer, will stay on to help expand the lender's California operations, Mr. Schneider said.
Old Kent was interested in National Pacific's origination capabilities and management team, Mr. Schneider said. The company's goal is for California to produce 20% of total originations.
Joseph Stieven, a stock analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in St. Louis, said Old Kent's mortgage operation has done good things for Old Kent Financial Corp., and can prove profitable for banks. Many mortgage originators are drawn to the California housing market because of its size, he added.