With Sale to WaMu Pending, MF Lender Settles Suit

Commercial Capital Bancorp here, which is slated for sale to Washington Mutual, has settled a lawsuit with a "purported" shareholder who accused the multifamily lender of selling out too cheaply.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CCBI said it paid plaintiff Walter Arnold $325,000 to the settle the case. CCBI is one of the largest multifamily lenders in the U.S. Based in Seattle, WaMu is the nation's third-largest mortgage banking firm.

Mr. Arnold was seeking class-action status on the lawsuit and an order enjoining the sale. In the SEC filing, it refers to Mr. Arnold as a "purported" shareholder but does not elaborate.

As National Mortgage News went to press, CCBI chief executive Stephen Gordon could not be reached for comment. One analyst who follows the company told NMN that CCBI has been silent on the issue of the settlement.

In April, WaMu agreed to buy CCBI for about $983 million. WaMu's bid translates into $16 a share for the company. The company's 52-week high is $20 a share.

Additional documents that CCBI filed with the SEC reveal that the multifamily lender began shopping for a merger partner in November 2005.

"Through March 2006, a total of 14 financial institutions, including Washington Mutual, were contacted," CCBI says in the documents. Credit Suisse and Sandler O'Neill were CCBI's advisors on the sale.

WaMu, initially, passed on making a bid on the company but changed its mind in the spring. At least one bidder - believed to be Wachovia Corp. - expressed serious interest in CCBI, but eventually passed. (c) 2006 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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