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Card Giant Buys NFB, Parent of GreenPoint

Credit card behemoth Capital One has agreed to purchase North Fork Bancorp, Melville, N.Y., the parent of alt-A giant servicing giant GreenPoint Mortgage.

Announced just as Mortgage Servicing News went to press, the McLean, Va.-based Capital One will pay $14.6 billion in cash and stock for NFB.

Nationwide, GreenPoint ranks 22nd with $50.1 billion in housing receivables, but among alt-A firms ranks fifth with $14.3 billion, according to figures compiled by MSN and the Alternative Products Quarterly Data Report.

Last year, Capital One, known primarily as a credit card company, purchased Hibernia Bank, New Orleans, one of the largest mortgage lenders in Louisiana.

A seller of bulk servicing, Hibernia services just $2.2 billion in mortgage loans for others. The bank's mortgage portfolio has been decimated by rising delinquencies caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The acquisition of NFB - a top-ranked lender/servicer of multifamily product, particularly in the New York area - will catapult Capital One into the top 10 of banking.

"North Fork is a great strategic fit with Capital One and brings balance and diversification to our company," said company chairman and CEO Richard D. Fairbank.

The combined depositories will boast a managed loan portfolio of $143 billion, including credit cards, mortgages and other receivables. The new bank will have 655 branches spread throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana and Texas. (Based in Novato, Calif., GreenPoint funds and services residential loans nationwide.)

In other pending merger news, General Motors still hopes to sell a controlling stake in GMAC Commercial, Horsham, Pa., a deal that was announced almost a year ago.

One investment banker familiar with the sale said talks are ongoing between the buyers and the parent company, noting that attorneys working the case have voiced concerns about a possible bankruptcy filing by GM.

GM officials have said publicly that they are not considering, at this time, filing for bankruptcy protection. The buyers are Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, Five Mile Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, Centex Home Equity, Dallas, a top-ranked subprime lender/servicer is still negotiating with a buyer whose identity has yet to be revealed.

"Exclusive negotiations have been going on for two months," said one source familiar with the deal. "I don't know why it's taking so long." Centex's homebuilder parent has yet to comment on the sale.

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