American Mortgage Consultants buys Meridian Asset Services

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Due diligence firm American Mortgage Consultants has purchased Meridian Asset Services as part of its continuing efforts to expand through acquisition or organic growth.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"We share a lot of clients, and work on a lot of like transactions. This will allow clients to essentially make one call instead of two, and also consolidate some of the data and information in trades," Michael Franco, American Mortgage Consultants' CEO, said in an interview.

The acquired company is now operating under its existing name as a subsidiary of American Mortgage Consultants. Founder Karen Riffe is continuing to lead Meridian, and Brian Hansen, a partner at Meridian, also is joining American Mortgage Consultants as a director as part of the deal.

All told, American Mortgage Consultants will be adding an estimated 250 full-time employees in the Tampa, Fla., area as a result of the acquisition. That represents "substantially all" of Meridian's staff, Franco said.

Meridian's collateral and title-related quality-control services are used by clients that may need to enforce their right as lienholders. This may include parties trading loans made outside the boundaries of the Qualified Mortgage safe harbor from ability-to-repay liability as well as involved in reperforming, nonperforming, or securitized markets.

Private-label residential mortgage-backed securities and non-QM loan markets have been growing recently, and there also has been active trading in reperforming and nonperforming loans, Franco noted.

American Mortgage Consultants has been an active acquirer in recent years, and private equity firm StonePoint Capital's acquisition of a majority interest in AMC last April recently strengthened the resources it has available to expand.

A few months after the StonePoint deal last year, American Mortgage Consultants acquired the right to hire 50 employees from The Barrent Group.

Other acquisitions American Mortgage Consultants has undertaken in recent years include the purchase of a business unit that handles due diligence and quality control from Stewart Lender Services in 2017 and the purchase of JCIII & Associates in 2015.

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