Only Nonbanks in Last Lap Of Race for BancPlus Unit

Four bidders are jockeying to win the largest mortgage company under government control -- and not one of them is a bank.

In the contest for BancPlus Mortgage Corp. -- a San Antonio, Tex., company that services more than $10 billion of loans -- the Resolution Trust Corp. is said to have narrowed the field to:

* Goldman, Sachs & Co., the New York securities firm.

* BancPlus Mortgage, an investor group organized by Hebert L. Carrel.

* Affiliated Computer Systems, a Dallas-based data processor.

* A group organized by Stan Bomar, former president of Sandia Mortgage Corp., Dallas.

The lineup illustrates how "nontraditional" players are dominating the acquisitions of servicing assets. Banks and thrifts, historically the industry leaders, are holding back because of capital constraints and general caution toward the real estate field, market specialists say.

"I would predict that the banks will lose market share in servicing over the next few years," said Terry W. Malone, president of Platte Valley Mortgage Corp., Scottsbluff, Neb. Formerly an executive with Michigan National Corp.'s mortgage unit, Mr. Malone and an investor group bought Platte Valley from the RTC earlier this year.

BancPlus Mortgage -- a unit of the failed BancPlus Savings Association -- services about $10.4 billion of mortgages and produces some $500 million of loans a year. Its portfolio is the largest among all mortgage companies sold or held by the RTC.

RTC Aims to Close Deal This Summer

Bid prices for the unit have not been disclosed. But the average mortgage company held by the RTC has sold for roughly 1.25% of its servicing portfolio, a figure suggesting a $130 million price for the BancPlus unit.

An official at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities, which is serving as broker for the RTC, declined to discuss the bidding. But he did say the RTC hoped to sign a preliminary sales agreement with one of the bidders by late June and close a deal 30 to 60 days later.

Though Goldman Sachs has been very active in investment banking for mortgage companies, its bid for BancPlus comes as a surprise. Sources were unclear about Goldman's objectives, and the firm declined to comment. If it won the bidding, Goldman could run the mortgage company or resell it, possibly in pieces.

Goldman would not be the first Wall Street firm to express an interest in an RTC mortgage company. Earlier this year, units of Prudential Securities and Cargill Inc., the commodities giant, reached a preliminary agreement to jointly acquire the mortgage unit of Empire of America Realty Credit Corp., Buffalo. That deal is expected to close soon.

Another bidder for BancPlus, Affiliated Computer, handles data processing for banks and thrifts through arrangements known as "outsourcing." Data processors are thought to be increasingly interested in taking direct stakes in servicing. The bid by Affiliated provides some of the first concrete evidence.

Darwin Deason, chairman and chief executive of Affiliated Computer, confirmed that his company is bidding for BancPlus and is eager to become a servicer.

Carrel and Bomar

Mr. Carrel, the BancPlus CEO, is well regarded in the industry and for more than a year has been seen as a potential buyer. Indeed, some observers say he will probably win. The identities of the other members of his group could not be determined, and Mr. Carrel has declined to discuss the bidding.

Mr. Bomar, the former Sandia Mortgage president, is a Dallas-based mortgage entrepreneur. Sources say he already has amassed the rights to service about about $1 billion of loans, farming out much of the work to Standard Federal Savings Bank, Gaithersburg, Md. Mr. Bomar could not be reached for comment.

Other nonbank players to buy large amounts of servicing rights from the RTC over the past year include United Companies Financial Corp., Baton Rouge, La., and James Tang, a Houston entrepreneur who is reportedly backed by Hong Kong investors.

And the appetites of nonbank players are not limited to RTC assets. In May, for example, a limited partnership that had historically bought mortgage securities bought rights from Dominion Bankshares Corp. in Roanoke, Va., to service $1 billion of loans.

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