Goldman Sachs Veterans Eye Default Management

An investment fund managed by two former Goldman Sachs executives is in the hunt for default-management-related companies and has raised $50 million to make acquisitions.

Virgo Capital of Austin, Texas, which manages the Virgo Capital Fund I LP, also has hired mortgage industry veteran Richard Wilkes to chair its advisory council.

"Virgo wants to buy or invest in companies that are default specialists," Mr. Wilkes told Mortgage Servicing News. During his career Mr. Wilkes has served as chief executive of a handful of mortgage firms, including First Nationwide Mortgage and Troy & Nichols.

Mr. Wilkes said Virgo anticipates that default management could be a hot growth area as the housing market softens and consumers struggle to pay their exotic mortgages. He noted that Virgo wants to stay away from startups and firms that are funders. In general, Virgo is looking at financial services firms and mortgage-related companies in particular. He said the fund has already looked at several opportunities in the default space. "There seems to be a lot of competition out there for companies," he said.

The fund is managed by Hermanth Parasuram and Guhan Swaminathan, both former investment bankers at Goldman. (Mr. Swaminathan is based in Austin and Mr. Parasuram in Oklahoma City where Virgo also has offices.)

Mr. Wilkes is also part owner of the Equinox Group, Houston, which offers staffing and human resource services to mortgage-related companies. Even though home values have softened the past six months, mortgage delinquencies have not spiked as some have predicted.

Still, certain industry executives - including Wall Street firms that have mortgage conduit operations - are bracing for a tidal wave of loan delinquencies as subprime adjustable-rate ARMs re-adjust, causing some consumers to go delinquent on their loans.

Subprime-related payment-option ARMs and interest-only loans are considered the most risky because they allow consumers to make the lowest monthly payment possible, that is, until the loan resets at a higher note rate.

Payment-option ARMs typically offer consumers four different payment plans, including "negative amortization" where the consumer makes the lowest payment possible by increasing the principal loan amount.

Payment-option ARMs account for about 10% of the U.S. origination market, which could total $3 trillion this year.

Countrywide Home Loans, the nation's largest funder, recently revealed that 75% of its payment-option ARM customers choose the cheapest mortgage payment option each month. (c) 2006 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

Next in News ►