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Roundup: LandAmerica Acquires California Bank for Escrow Deposits

LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. here has agreed to purchase a California-based financial institution, Orange County Bancorp, and use the depository as a place to hold some of its escrows.

Right now, the title company has relationships with a number of banks where it places the escrows. G. William Evans, chief financial officer at LandAmerica, said once the deal is completed in the fourth quarter, his company would still utilize its bank relationships for many of the escrow accounts.

Orange County's subsidiary, Centennial Bank, Fountain Valley, Calif., has one branch with assets of $239.8 million. It sources most of its passbook savings and certificate of deposit accounts through the Internet. At the end of last year, it had $194 million in deposits.

The bank earned $3.8 million in 2002. It is a state-chartered industrial bank. LandAmerica will pay $27.6 million to acquire 100% of the outstanding stock. Orange County stock is not publicly traded.

Mr. Evans noted that Centennial makes small commercial real estate loans, using commercial mortgage brokers to bring the product in. LandAmerica expects to continue using that model, he said.

Furthermore, it is not looking to use the bank to expand into the residential mortgage origination business.

Centennial had $203.2 million in real estate loans in its portfolio, of which $139 million was commercial real estate and an additional $30.7 million was multifamily, according to a report on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. website.

Its residential portfolio, at $5 million on Dec. 31, 2001, shrunk to just $942,000 one year later.

Current management will remain in charge at Centennial.

Pru Names Portfolio Manager

Newark, NJ-Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. has named Paige Hood, a managing director at the firm, as the company's new general account portfolio manager.

He will oversee the portfolio of mortgages originated for Prudential Insurance Co. of America's general account. Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. is the commercial mortgage lending business of Prudential Financial.

Mr. Hood has worked for Prudential for 15 years, with assignments in direct loan origination, mortgage asset management and credit underwriting in Prudential's Dallas, Atlanta and San Francisco offices.

Mr. Hood joined Prudential after six years in the banking industry.

In addition, Prudential announced several other executive changes, including the hiring of Dale Fathe-Aazam as a

principal responsible for overseeing the company's institutional mortgage portfolios in Prudential Real Estate Fixed Income Investors. Mr. Fathe-Aazam will also serve as a western region product specialist for the general account.

Prudential also announced that Marcia Diaz and Michael Jameson, both currently western regional loan originators, will replace Mr. Hood in overseeing the West Coast Generalist Origination teams for the firm.

Post Closing Expands

New York-The Post Closing Department, a subsidiary of Cobine Consulting and Associates, is planning to expand into the Midwestern United States. The group projects growth into Idaho, Utah, Montana and the Dakotas by May of this year.

"Our acceptance in the Midwestern United States will be a substantial jump in business and signal change in the title and escrow industry," said Amy Cobine, president of Cobine Consulting and Associates. The Post Closing Department is already present in title and escrow companies in Washington state, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado.

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