Ocwen Will Drop Its Thrift Charter

Ocwen Federal Bank FSB, West Palm Beach, Fla., has filed an application with its regulator to turn in its federal thrift charter, a move that will prohibit it from taking deposits in the U.S.

Ocwen Federal, a subsidiary of Ocwen Financial, is the nation's ninth largest servicer of subprime loans, but is currently operating under a supervisory agreement that, among other things, has the effect of limiting its growth.

An OTS spokesman said that over the past five years just one or two institutions have chosen to turn in their charters "and one was self-liquidating."

Fitch Ratings noted that by relinquishing its charter, Ocwen will no longer be eligible for federal pre-emption on state lending laws and must comply with each state individually.

The company, however, has greatly reduced its presence in subprime funding and acquisitions because according to an SEC filing, those businesses are too capital-intensive.

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