Wholesale mortgage lender Pinnacle Direct Funding Corp., Orlando, Fla., has announced a merger with sister company Tri-Star Lending Group.The combined company will service customers under the Tri-Star name from operations facilities in Orlando and Phoenix and sales coverage in 48 states, Pinnacle said. Both companies are part of The Pinnacle Cos., a diversified financial services corporation. Pinnacle said the merger is designed to better position TSL for growth by combining three sales strategies under one operations umbrella: PDFC's "inside sales" model, which is unique to the wholesale industry; TSL's more traditional "outside sales" model; and correspondent lending with mortgage bankers. "The merger of these two companies is about economies of scale and leveraging a three-tiered sales and support system that will be best in class," said Doug Long, co-chairman of Pinnacle Cos. PDFC and TSL have established "significant footholds" across the country with a residential alternative-A mortgage lending product, Pinnacle said.

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