Popular Inc., a Puerto Rican financial institution, has announced a merger agreement under which it will acquire 100% of the common stock and common stock equivalents of online mortgage lender E-Loan Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., for approximately $300 million in cash.The common stock and equivalents will be purchased for $4.25 per share. E-Loan will maintain its brand identity and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Popular Financial Holdings Inc., Popular's U.S. finance subsidiary, and Mark Lefanowicz, E-Loan's chief executive officer and president, will continue as president. The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of both companies but is still subject to E-Loan shareholder approval. Popular said the transaction will expand its penetration into the U.S. market, complement its nonprime and warehouse lending businesses, and "significantly enhance" its technology platform. E-Loan originated over $5 billion in mortgage, home equity, and auto loans last year, Popular said. The companies can be found online at http://www.popularinc.com and http://www.eloan.com.

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