Charter Funding shops for new owner
Charter Funding of Hawaii, the retail lending arm of First Magnus Financial Corp. of Tucson, Ariz., is shopping for a new owner in light of the news that its parent is shutting down operations.
"We were profitable here in Hawaii and nationally," said David Quandt, vice president and regional manager of Charter Funding. "It wasn't an effect of not being profitable. We were originating loans and closing them here, but in Tucson, they couldn't sell to the secondary markets."
Quandt said he was already in negotiations with three to four mortgage companies and banks, both here and on the mainland, on possible mergers. He expects to make a decision by the end of next week.
As of yesterday, employees were still answering office phones at Charter Funding, which has seven locations throughout the state -- three on Oahu, two on the Big Island, one on Maui and one on Kauai.
Quandt said there were about 90 employees throughout the state.
"We are hopeful to have employment for all our employees," he said.
Earlier this week, First Magnus, citing the collapse of the secondary mortgage market, announced it would stop funding loans in a recorded message on its customer-service line as well as its Web site. It also announced a substantial reduction in its work force, with Thursday being the last day.
Established in November 1998 as a subsidiary of First Magnus, Charter Funding claims to be Hawaii's largest privately held mortgage banker.
In the state, Quandt said Charter Funding was closing an average of $90 million a month in loans, both through the retail and wholesale sides. Last year, Charter claimed it closed more than $1 billion in loans.
He did not have an immediate estimate of the number of Charter borrowers in the state, but said the current pipeline of loans would be brokered out to different banks and companies.
Earlier this month, American Home Mortgage Corp., a New York-based lender with five offices in Hawaii, also closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy.