Ellington Wants to Buy Originators

Ellington Management Group, Old Greenwich, Conn., is looking to get into the loan production business and towards that end it has hired former GMAC Mortgage executive Steven Abreu as head of mortgage originations.

According to the company’s press release, Abreu has been tasked with leading the firm’s efforts to buy one or more originators through Ellington Management’s affiliate Ellington Financial, which is a publicly traded specialty finance company that acquires and manages mortgage-related assets. On May 9, Ellington Financial priced a $132 million public offering of its common stock.

Once those acquisitions are completed, Abreu will oversee both agency and nonagency mortgage originations and the retention of mortgage servicing rights.

Right now Ellington does not own a mortgage origination platform, and although it does own servicing rights because of its investments in loans and residential mortgage-backed securities, third parties service those rights.

The company also has a presence in the commercial loan and CMBS arena as well. Right not it does not originate any of those loans, but might consider it in the future.

Michael Vranos, Ellington Management Group’s CEO, said in the press release, “Ellington Financial, with its flexible corporate structure and over $650 million of equity capital following its recent capital raise, will benefit greatly from having its own mortgage origination and servicing platform.

“The mortgage origination business is not only profitable in its own right, but over time will provide Ellington Financial with a steady pipeline of attractive long-term investments.”

Abreu was president of GMAC Mortgage from 2009 to 2013. Before that he was CEO and president of GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Inc.