Signature Bank Turns to AHM for Private-Label Help

American Home Mortgage Corp. here is providing private-label mortgage processing services for Signature Bank, New York, through its online channel, Mortgage Select.

In addition, another American Home Mortgage division will provide loan servicing for Signature Bank.

As part of this transaction, another American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. subsidiary, Columbia National Inc., will assume the servicing rights for Signature Bank's $46 million servicing portfolio. Going forward, Columbia National will service all of Signature's originations, except for those sold on a servicing-released basis.

Among the items that made the arrangement attractive to Signature Bank, said Donald Henig, executive vice president for American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., parent of American Home Mortgage, is that the parent company is a real estate investment trust, and is capable offering the specialized products that Signature Bank customers need, including jumbo loans and co-op and condominium loans.

Signature, he noted, "is the quarterback" in the deal. It will decide what product to offer the customer and the rate. Loans will close in Signature's name using the bank's own funds.

"They make all of the decisions. We have to perform to their standards," Mr. Henig said. The arrangement has been operating successfully for the past two months.

He also noted, "Mortgage Select's private-label program will provide Signature Bank's bankers with state-of-the-art processing and support technology. These features allow Signature Bank's private client teams to concentrate on client relationships and sales efforts as they maintain complete control throughout the mortgage loan process."

The bank's clientele includes privately owned businesses, as well as the owners and senior managers of the businesses.

In an era where many companies, including a number in the mortgage business, are outsourcing parts of the business oversees, American Home will be servicing Signature Bank out of facilities it has in New York, Mr. Henig noted.

Michael Merlo, senior vice president and chief credit officer for Signature Bank added, "We expect this relationship to prove beneficial based on the large volumes of loans that American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. originates.

"These benefits will be passed onto clients in the form of better pricing and the lowest mortgage rates possible."

American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. is a mortgage real estate investment trust. Through its taxable subsidiaries, it originates and services mortgage loans for institutional investors.

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