CrossCountry buys assets of Costco mortgage provider First Choice

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CrossCountry Mortgage in Brecksville, Ohio, has acquired the assets of First Choice Loan Services in East Brunswick, N.J., a former affiliate of Berkshire Hills Bancorp that has marketed mortgages to Costco members.

"The addition of this group is a terrific fit for us," Ron Leonhardt, CEO of CrossCountry Mortgage, said in a press release. "We are pleased that they chose to join us. It enhances both our strategic growth in several regions as well as our consumer-direct component. Our team committed to, and achieved, a smooth transition for the loan originators."

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

First Choice affiliate Berkshire Hills Bancorp was in the process of exiting the mortgage origination business and entered into an agreement with CrossCountry Mortgage to complete it.

"We explored our options with several other companies, but CCM stood out," Norman Koenigsberg, executive vice president at First Choice Loan Services, said in a press release. "Ron and his leadership team made this process transparent and clear. We laid out a roadmap for success in our first meeting, and CCM never deviated from it."

CrossCountry's ability to work with Costco was reviewed in the negotiations leading up to the deal. The big-box store, which offers bulk purchases and discounts to its members, has seen its sales skyrocket as consumers, concerned about minimizing shopping trips and spending during the coronavirus pandemic, have flocked to it.

"There was an extensive review process on both sides to ensure that that program would go forward with the high level of service required to provide the outstanding experience Costco members expect. CCM was the company that more than met the requirements," Bill Schneider, executive vice president at First Choice, said in the press release.

Other acquisitions by CrossCountry in recent years include its rollup of BeMortgage in 2018. BeMortgage was previously owned by Chicago's Bridgeview Bank.

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M&A Nonbank Community banks Costco Originations Consumer direct