LendingTree's HLC Dismisses Exec

Home Loan Center here, the mortgage arm of LendingTree LLC, has dismissed its head of production, and another executive, National Mortgage News has learned.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed that production chief Sean Wilson has left the firm along with Peter Macdonald, who was described by the source as being "just shy of executive level."

A spokeswoman for LendingTree declined to comment on the situation.

LendingTree, an online exchange that boasts it can get the best loan rate for consumers, bought Home Loan Center, a mortgage banker, in September 2004.

Sources say the dismissals could be related to a recent lawsuit filed against the companies.

Last month, a class-action lawsuit was filed against both LendingTree and HLC, alleging that there is no competition at LendingTree, and that the company uses the website to generate leads for HLC.

LendingTree claims the suit is without merit and has vowed to fight it vigorously.

The two companies are owned by the publicly traded IAC/Interactive, New York, whose CEO is media titan Barry Diller.

Up until last year, HLC reported production figures to National Mortgage News but then stopped the practice. In 2005, it funded about $1.79 billion, ranking 135th nationwide, according to the Mortgage Industry Directory.

One executive who competes against the company said HLC is funding in the range of $600 million to $700 million a month in residential loans.

Founded in 2002 by CEO Anthony Hsieh, HLC bills itself as a branchless retail direct lender. Tomo Yebisu is the company's president. (c) 2006 National Mortgage News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com