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Equipoint Financial Network, Inc. - Wholesale, Net Branch Operations

2008-08-05

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stories: nctimes.com

Update - 2009-06-05: Equipoint Financial Network, Inc. has successfully completed their restructuring plan under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankrupcty Code, and effective 2009-06-09 will be free to "operate its businesses and may use, acquire and dispose of property free of any restrictions of the Bankrupty Code." An official discharge by the Court was not yet available, but the Order confirming the plan was filed on 2009-05-27. President of the restructured firm Bruce Barnes provided us with the following statement:

"As outlined in the June 2008 filing, the previous management team filed for the Chapter 11 BK and then resigned from the company. It was then turned over to me to complete the process. As you might imagine, it has been a long process but thankfully, I was able to get it done and save jobs for some very good people. To complete this process I was required to pay the creditors $400,000 so the company could be transferred to me as the new owner."

Equipoint has continued lending throughout the process, and with its completion of the BK will fully resume normal operations as one of the nation's leading Reverse Mortgage lenders.

Equipoint Financial Network made the Imploded List at #270 on Aug. 5th last year. Equipoint will remain on the Imploded list as part of the historical record, and can also be found under the "They're Back!" Lender list.

Update - 2009-02-04: We received the following statement from co-owner and President Bruce Barnes of Equipoint Financial:

"We are pleased to announce that EquiPoint Financial Network, Inc. has successfully navigated the Chapter 11 company reorganization with a confirmation date set for March 4, 2009. The company was able to save over 100 jobs, maintain a 30 state licensing platform, maintain their "Full Eagle" FHA status and maintain their loan production to rank them in the top 15 US lenders originating reverse mortgages."

Click here to read the complete memo. Equipoint Financial Network, Inc. was ranked 15th in the country for Reverse Mortgage production according to a HUD report published in December 2008.

Original Listing - 2008-08-05: In a news article on August 2nd, the North County Times addresses a surge in San Diego bankruptcy filings represented by a majority of real-estate related companies.

"There's been a tremendous upswing in Chapter 11s," said John Smaha, a bankruptcy attorney in San Diego. "In the last 10 years, Chapter 11s were almost unheard of in San Diego."

Mentioned among them is Equipoint Financial Network, Inc.'s Chapter 11 filing on 2008-06-20 (pdf). Loomis, CA based Equipoint Financial Network, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equipoint Financial Services, Inc. From the North County Times article:

"Smaha represents EquiPoint Financial Network, based in San Marcos. A month ago, the mortgage banking company filed for Chapter 11, a restructuring bankruptcy in which the company attempts to work out a plan to pay its bills and re-emerge as a successful company."

Equipoint Financial Network had wholesale, retail and net branch operations primarily in the Western U.S. based on a number of sources we spoke with, including brokers and AE's, retail LO's, and former net branch employees. A 2007-04-13 article in the Sacramento Business Journal offers this description:

"The company started in 2004 as Axio Financial Services Inc. by rolling up three mortgage companies. At the end of last year, it bought its fourth, an Oregon-based retail mortgage originator with 60 branches.

With the deal, the company changed its name to EquiPoint. The company now has 85 branches and 460 employees scattered over seven states.

The company originates mortgages in 10 states."

We began receiving scattered reports of office closures, layoffs and a redirection to FHA lending in February of 2008. It is not clear exactly when the wholesale and net branch operations were officially shutdown, but timing of the reports suggests it may have corresponded with the demise of Citigroup's First Collateral Services (FCS). Tipsters we spoke with at the time said FCS was Equipoint's warehouse facility.

According to their web site, Equipoint Financial Network is licensed in 24 states. No volume info was provided to us, but according to the "Statement of Financial Affairs" (pdf) filed 2008-07-08 with the BK schedules, Equipoint realized over $22.6 million in revenues during 2006, slightly down from $23.8 million reported for 2005. Revenues for the first two months of 2008 were reported at $2.8 million. A former employee we spoke with told us the net branch operations accounted for "three-fourths of their business."

A $2 million dollar repurchase lawsuit (pdf) from GMAC's Residential Funding Co., LLC filed shortly after the BK was responded to with a "Notice of Automatic Stay" (pdf) and was subsequently added in an amended (pdf) filing, which lists a total of five lawsuits pending:

According to public records, Equipoint Financial Network, Inc. was dismissed (pdf) "with prejudice" in the first of those cases listed. With the amendment, Equipoint Financial Network, Inc.'s total liabilities were reported at over $7.25 million with assets just under $550,000.

There were a total of three outstanding leases listed for offices in San Marcos, CA, their headquarters in Loomis, CA, and a 4,471 sq. ft. office in Tigard, OR. A listing posted on Craig's List on 2008-08-05 indicates the San Marcos space is available (pdf) on "30 Days Notice". The other two locations appear to have been vacated; and the "remaining equipment, furniture and trade fixtures" were abandonded:

In conjunction with the BK, President and Secretary Larry Wodarski stepped down, retaining his position as Treasurer. Bruce Barnes was elected President and Secretary, and the Board of Directors was dissolved. The North County article goes on to report "EquiPoint hopes to emerge from bankruptcy within five months and operate as a broker for reverse mortgages... In that role, it will not act as a banker."

A branch employee we spoke with said there were currently 14 retail branches operating under the Chapter 11 BK, and plans were to add five more in the near future. Our attempt to reach Barnes for comment was unsuccessful.

If you can provide additional insight, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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Comments:

ronin at 16:13 2009-06-05 said:
Good news for the folks in Loomis.

Looking back over the Meter's coverage of the BK, I was surprised to find an innuendo that the "demise" of First Collateral Services had something to do with the June, 2008 BK filing of Equipoint. First Collateral shut its doors 6 months later, on 12/31/08, as it announced that it would in mid-January, 2007.

We've all had our share of reverses ... but I hope that the reverse mortgage business is the means for Equipoint to start going forward again. 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.