First Arizona Savings Launches Mortgage Platform

Jeff Walton, former CEO of Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage, and Greg Russell, formerly a managing director of Hudson Advisors, the asset management operation for Lone Star Funds, have joined forces with First Arizona Savings FSB to launch a residential mortgage origination platform focused on opportunities in the Western U.S., with plans to expand nationally.

The platform, National Residential Mortgage, a division of First Arizona Savings FSB, will be led by Walton and headquartered in Phoenix. The former executive team from Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage has joined Walton in the new venture, along with Steve Atwood, a former executive at National City Mortgage, who will direct production activities for National Residential Mortgage.

‘In this changing regulatory environment, it isâ�¦essential to have a national charter with regulatory preemption, and we are fortunate to partner with First Arizona Savings, which has strong ownership and is located right in our own backyard," says Walton.

The outfit will concentrate on conventional lending, with the purpose of selling loans to Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, Walton told Bloomberg this week. He also stated that National Residential Mortgage is aiming to issue $150 million of mortgages per month in its first year.

Russell, commenting on the timing of the launch, adds, "We like where we are in the residential collateral cycle and believe now is a good time to create a high-quality servicing portfolio.’

First Arizona Savings, a full-service federal savings bank, was first chartered in 1988 and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., with several branches serving communities throughout Arizona.

SOURCES: First Arizona Savings FSB, Bloomberg


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