Wintrust in Ill. to buy consumer direct mortgage lender

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Wintrust Financial in Rosemont, Ill., has agreed to buy Veterans Mortgage in Salt Lake City.

The $27 billion-asset Wintrust said in a press release Monday that it will buy certain assets and assume certain liabilities of the business from iFreedom Direct. The deal is expected to include servicing rights for about 9,000 loans with an estimated total principal balance of $1.4 billion.

Wintrust did not say how much it will pay for the business, though it said the all-cash deal has conditions tied to Veterans First’s future profitability. The deal is expected to be slightly accretive to Wintrust’s 2018 earnings per share.

Veterans First is a consumer direct lender with two offices in Salt Lake City and one in San Diego. The company, which has roughly 400 employees, is projected to originate more than $800 million in loans this year. It secializes in VA lending, primarily for new home purchases.

“This acquisition will allow Wintrust Mortgage to expand both in size and structure,” David Hrobon, president and CEO of Wintrust Mortgage, said in the release. Veterans First “built a terrific consumer direct lending business with some of the industry’s brightest leadership and employees.”

Wintrust, under CEO Ed Wehmer, has been an aggressive acquirer of Chicago-area community banks and nonbanks.

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