A day after disclosing that its fourth-quarter earnings would be smaller than expected, American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., Melville, N.Y., has announced an agreement to purchase Waterfield Financial, a top-50-ranked residential lender based in Fort Wayne, Ind.No purchase price was disclosed. A spokeswoman for AHM said the publicly traded mortgage real estate investment trust is not acquiring the $19 billion residential servicing portfolio of WF's Waterfield Mortgage unit. "They have other plans for that portfolio," the spokeswoman said. (Waterfield said in a statement that it has reached a tentative agreement to sell the portfolio to an undisclosed buyer.) However, AHM will take control of Waterfield's 46 retail, wholesale, and correspondent branches, which are spread out among 16 states. Officials at the bank-owned mortgage firm could not be reached for comment by deadline time. AHM ranks 16th among all residential funders, according to the Quarterly Data Report, a MortgageWire affiliate. Michael Strauss, AHM's chief executive officer, apologized for the timing of the acquisition announcement, saying purchase talks had been under way "for some time." AHM can be found online at http://www.americanhm.com.

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