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AmTrust Bank - Retail, Wholesale

2009-12-07

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Update: 2010-01-06: Housing Wire reports the FDIC is looking to sell the servicing rights for a portfolio of nearly 100,000 (formerly) AmTrust loans in the second quarter of 2010. In an effort to mitigate its losses on AmTrust Bank's failure, the agency set a precedent in its deal with New York Community Bank by exercising an option on profits of NYCB shares before 2009-12-23. According to an article in Bank Investment Consultant, the deal resulted in a gain of $23.3 million for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

On 2009-12-21 Crain's Cleveland Business had the announcement that New York Community Bank would "maintain AmTrust's mortgage banking operation," preserving more than 1,400 jobs:

"AmTrust had 469 people in the division who now are NYCB employees. In all, 1,459 former AmTrust employees joined NYCB; 220 employees were not kept. Of those, 103 were hired by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on a temporary basis."

Update - 2009-12-11: The FDIC sent COBRA notices to all of AmTrust Bank's 1700 employees earlier this week, as the government and New York Community Bank (NYCB) mull over which units and what personnel of the failed bank's operations will be kept. According to a report in The Plain Dealer, the fate of AmTrust's wholesale mortgage lending division and some 200 employees now lies in the hands of NYCB. Executive Vice President Ilene Angarola told The Plain Dealer:

"Whether NYCB keeps the wholesale operation or its employees is part of the evaluation process NYCB is undergoing right now, Angarola said."

NYCB executives are also contemplating changing the institution's name back to Ohio Savings Bank, according to a separate report in The Plain Dealer.

Original Listing - 2009-12-07: On the heels of its parent company's bankruptcy, Amtrust Bank became the 130th bank to fail in 2009 when the FDIC took it into receivership on 2009-12-04 at an estimated cost of $2 billion. New York Community Bank in Westbury, N.Y. assumed AmTrust Bank's $8.6 billion in deposits and purchased $9 billion of the failed bank's $12 billion in assets.

New York Community Bank "did not acquire any of AmTrust Bank's non-performing loans serviced by AmTrust Bank or any other real estate owned; construction, land, or development loans; private-label securities, or mortgage servicing rights, nor did it acquire any of the assets or assume any of the obligations of the holding company" according to their press release. They did, however, retain all of Amtrust Bank's offices and employees. As reported by CNN Money:

"The 66 branches of AmTrust Bank located throughout Ohio, Florida and Arizona employ 1,728 workers and will reopen as branches of New York Community Bank."

Materials accompanying a 2009-12-07 presentation to investors by New York Community Bank's Chairman, President and CEO Joseph R. Ficalora indicated all AmTrust branches would be converted to "AmTrust Bank, a division of New York Community Bank." A brief announcement currently displayed on AmTrust Bank's web site (view cached) assures, "All branches are open and business, including all online services, will continue as usual."

Original Ailing Listing - 2009-12-03: AmTrust Financial Corp. -- the parent company of AmTrust Bank -- filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 2009-11-30. Reuters reported that AmTrust Bank "was not included in the filing and will continue business operations" which was confirmed when we called the bank's Cleveland, OH mortgage operations.

Calculated Risk noted this as a "somewhat unusual move," citing other sources that implied this may have been a "pre-emptive move" on the part of the holding company and could be a lead-in to direct intervention by federal regulators.

Update - 2009-11-18: Another quarter ended, and AmTrust Bank's ratios have only gotten worse. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the bank's "already poor financial ratios dropped nearly in half last quarter." A $297 million loss for the period ending 2009-09-30 eclipsed the $127 million loss reported for the previous quarter.

"The Cleveland bank, which a year ago was ordered to improve its finances, saw its key tier-1 risk-based capital ratio fall to 4.2 percent, down from 7.5 percent in the second quarter."

AmTrust Bank's tier-1 core ratio fell to 2.5 percent from 5.4. Measure of total risk-based capital fell to 5.4 percent, a 3.4 percent move away from the 12 percent the Office of Thrift Supervision had set a deadline of 2008-12-31 to meet.

Update - 2009-08-17: Dropping further from meeting regulatory capital requirements, AmTrust Bank posted a second quarter loss of $120.9 million -- nearly double the $64.6 million hit taken in the first quarter. As of 2009-06-30, the bank's Tier-1 core capital ratio had fallen to 4.29 percent from 4.82 percent on 2009-03-31. The risk-based capital ratio slid to 8.51 percent from 9.28 percent. Both ratios are drastically short of those required by the Office of Thrift Supervision, whose deadline is now more than seven months past. From the South Florida Business Journal:

"Even though the bank decreased its total assets to $13.1 billion from $14.4 billion as of March 31 to aid the bottom half of its capital-to-asset ratio, the $120.9 million loss eroded its capital faster than the bank could shrink its assets."

According to the article, nearly 18 percent of AmTrust's assets were non-performing. Along with repossessed property, that includes $1.23 billion in noncurrent mortgage loans.

Update - 2009-05-18: The opening paragraph in The Plain Dealer's article on Friday, 2009-05-15, pretty much sums it up:

"Six months after AmTrust Bank was ordered to improve its finances, the Cleveland bank's numbers are actually getting worse, according to a report filed Friday."

Not only has AmTrust Bank fallen short of the OTS' mandate to improve ratios to 7% and 12% respectively for it's Tier-1 core capital and total risk-based capital levels -- a target the bank previously failed to meet by the regulator's 2008-12-31 deadline -- the 2009 1st Quarter results filed Friday indicate they have continued to drop since September 2008, falling to 9.8% and 9.3% since December.

""I can't predict what action the OTS may or may not take in response" to the financial report, OTS spokesman William Ruberry said Friday."

Despite the declining ratios and a $65 million first quarter loss, AmTrust continues to report progress in the execution of it's turn-around plan. Spokesperson Donna Winfield gave The Plain Dealer this written statement:

""For example," she said, "our regulatory capital ratios were ahead of plan though they remain under pressure for the foreseeable future as we work through our risky assets," adding that losses in the quarter "narrowed significantly," assets were reduced consistent with the bank's strategy to reduce risk and nearly $8.5 billion of new single-family loans were originated, making AmTrust the third-largest wholesale lender in the nation."

Update - 2009-02-13: The 2008 year-end reports for AmTrust Bank are in, and the bank failed to meet the capitalization requirements of OTS. AmTrust's Tier 1 (core) capital ratio as of December 31, 2008 was reported at 4.95% and its risk-based capital ratio was 9.99%, significantly less than the respective 7% and 12% ratios regulators had demanded. "That means AmTrust is just adequately capitalized," reported the Triangle Business Journal, "the bank needs to raise capital."

Also today, 90.3 WCPN reported a class-action lawsuit has been filed against AmTrust on behalf of customers whose Home Equity lines of credit were allegedly suspended "without warning or any assesment of individual property values." The suit contends customers were charged fees "for access to the credit should they need to tap it" and seeks their recovery "plus costs incurred resulting from the suspensions."

Update - 2009-01-26: In a 2009-01-24 press release, West Virginia based WesBanco announced it will buy Amtrust's five banking branches in Columbus, OH for $20.9 million. The transaction provides Amtrust with much needed capital toward meeting OTS's requirements, but "does not include the purchase of any troubled AmTrust mortgage loans."

Update - 2009-01-09: Cleveland's Plain Dealer reported on 2009-01-06 that Amtrust has submitted its "turnaround" plan to OTS, citing spokesperson Donna Winfield:

"We ... expect to meet with them after they have had an opportunity to review it," she said in a prepared statement. "At this time, it's not appropriate to comment on the specific details of the plan except to say we have confidence in our ability to execute on it."

Original Ailing Listing - 2008-12-26: We have learned that AmTrust AE's were told in a conference call on Monday, December 22, 2008 that loan locks were being suspended "with new locks to resume after 1/1/2009." Given the bank's year-end deadline to conform to regulatory orders, this could be an ominous development as pertains to AmTrust's wholesale operations.

Privately-owned AmTrust Bank of Cleveland, OH is working to meet regulators' demands after it was issued a Cease & Desist Order by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) on November 19, 2008. Under the order, AmTrust must increase it's Tier 1 (core) capital ratio to 7%, and its risk-based capital ratio to 12% by December 31, 2008. The bank was also ordered to limit new loans for land acquisition, development or speculative residential construction.

On December 18, 2008, the bank announced it would be closing its downtown Akron office on March 13, 2009, and told the Akron Beacon Journal "no more layoffs planned." AmTrust employed about 2700 people, 1800 in Ohio. News of recent layoffs has been mixed, with one tipster reporting 400 layoffs, another saying "over 500 let go," while a report on Cleveland.com indicates "200 to 300" jobs were cut.

In an article published December 1, 2008, Crain's Cleveland Business summarizes the conditions Amtrust Bank has to meet:

Technically, she [Karen Dorway, president of bank rating and research firm Bauer Financial] said, the bank is still well-capitalized. But AmTrust's high level of nonperforming assets and the precarious economy mean regulators are uncomfortable with the current levels: The bank's nonperforming loans were above 7% of its total assets as of Sept. 30, Ms. Dorway said -- well above acceptable standards of closer to 1%."

The article called it a "surmountable challenge," likening AmTrust's situation to that of another northern Ohio bank, The Home Savings and Loan Co. in Youngstown, OH, which received a similar order from OTS. Crain's has this quote from Home S&L's chairman and CEO Douglas McKay:

"I think regulators know they (AmTrust officials) can get out of it," Mr. McKay said. "That's why they issue orders. When they don't think you can get out of it, they shut you down completely."

According to Cleveland.com, AmTrust is the "fourth-largest bank in the region by deposits" in northern Ohio, and "one of the 15 largest mortgage lenders nationwide." The bank saw 2007 volume average nearly $1.9 billion per month.

AmTrust previously announced the end of its offering of Closed-End Second Mortgages as of October 3, 2008, which we reported in a member newsletter (subscription required). As noted by our source, they were "one of the last lenders to pull 2nd mortgages."

Read more in our Discussion Forums and feel free to post your comments below. As always, contact us if you can provide additional information.


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Comments:

freddie at 17:52 2008-12-26 said:
The information about locks is not right. They are clearing out any old Agency Jumbo, but regular conforming is still fine. New locks are not a problem. If fact, they may extend locks just to get refi's closed into January. Permalink
aSurvivor at 18:15 2008-12-26 said:
This is totally inaccurate, there was not such a meeting. Anyone who works for them or with them knows that AmTrust has not suspended locks they have been locking and closing loans like crazy. Where does this non-sense come from? Permalink
Shelly Logemann at 13:53 2008-12-28 said:
We have been doing business with Amtrust over 10 years.....the 1st broker in California, and they are still alive and well and accepting locks. They just offered free extensions on locks that were delayed due to the holidays to ensure that they are delivered in January.

This talk af them not accepting locks this past week was not true. We locked plenty of loans. I'm not sure who or why that rumor would get started.

They are the best overall lender out there....consistent and fair. A great partner.....treat them right and they treat you better!

If you are lucky enough to be approved with them.....do what you can to keep that partnership alive.....pull through of good loans.

Have a Happy New Year!! Permalink

mortgage_crap at 10:36 2008-12-31 said:
This is totally inaccurate, there was not such a meeting. Anyone who works for them or with them knows that AmTrust has not suspended locks they have been locking and closing loans like crazy. Where does this non-sense come from?
Maybe the nonsense is coming from the fact that the FDIC is crawling all over them right now, there is probably a run on the bank as we speak (bank customers are pulling money out of their bank). I really dont know about the locking issues, if any, but what I do know is that they are done! i give them max a few months. Permalink
cbc1103 at 14:16 2008-12-31 said:
...reporting by Ml Implode. I am an AE for Amtrust, there was no lock suspension of any kind. Amtrust has continued to lock and fund loans. The OTS orders are being met. Amtrust will probably have a record January. There was no conference call. So all that is BS. I think ML Implode is sop anxious to get the scoop that they end up mis-reporting and send a bunch of in-accuracies out to the general public. Its no wonder they get sued so often. Permalink
cbc1103 at 14:21 2008-12-31 said:
You seem a little disgruntled. The FDIC monitors all banks. the OTS regulates Amtrust. there has not been a run on the bank. What a poor soul you must be to hate things so bad that you put out bad information. were you fired from Amtrust? Permalink
cbc1103 at 19:49 2008-12-31 said:
An AP brief from 2008-12-16 offers this promise:

"U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday that he does not expect any more major financial institutions to fail during the current credit crisis." Permalink

MakingIt at 16:49 2009-01-01 said:
An AP brief from 2008-12-16 offers this promise:

"U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday that he does not expect any more major financial institutions to fail during the current credit crisis."

That doesn't stop them from being bought for pennies on the dollar or shutting down their Wholesale division if it's losing money.

Mr. Kool Aid from Columbus , which division in Amtrust is losing money and which making money ?

Bottom line , at some point they will have to be responsilble to their shareholders. Permalink

MortgageMan101 at 12:31 2009-01-05 said:
:shock:

I worked for the bank for years. I have not been there in the past couple of years but the Goldbergs, especially Peter (well only Peter) is the direct cause for the problems. The economy , yes, had a part in it but Peter Goldbergs "golden dream" pushed them over the edge. They treated their workers poorly and deserve the trouble.

Yup ! Permalink

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Important: This company is on our list of lending operations that have "imploded". However, please note that "imploded" is a somewhat subjective and does not necessarily mean operations are ceased permanently: it can mean bankruptcy filing, temporary but open-ended halting of major operations, or "firesale" acquisition. All information here is provisional, and may contain inaccuracies (especially newer information). If you are planning on doing business with this company or any other one listed on this site, you should inquire with them directly on whether they can still meet your needs. Many are still operating in some capacity.