First California Mortgage Company Chosen for Warehouse Lending Initiative between Fannie Mae and Natty Mac, Receives $50 Million in Warehouse Funding

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First California Mortgage Company (First Cal) has confirmed that it has been chosen as the pilot lender for the recently announced warehouse initiative between Fannie Mae and Guggenheim Partners’ mortgage warehouse operations company, NattyMac. Fannie Mae pledged its support as part of its recently-announced warehouse lending pilot to provide $1 billion in liquidity to non-bank lenders, and First Cal has secured $50 million in new warehouse funding through this program.

“We are pleased and grateful for the leadership of Fannie Mae in helping us structure this credit facility, and to Natty Mac for its strong support,” said Christopher K. Hart, President of First Cal.

First California Mortgage Company (First Cal) has confirmed that it has been chosen as the pilot lender for the recently announced warehouse initiative between Fannie Mae and Guggenheim Partners’ mortgage warehouse operations company, NattyMac. Fannie Mae pledged its support as part of its recently-announced warehouse lending pilot to provide $1 billion in liquidity to non-bank lenders, and First Cal has secured $50 million in new warehouse funding through this program. The added credit capacity will enable First Cal to fund an additional 5,000 home loans this year and more than triple its 2009 production.

“We are pleased and grateful for the leadership of Fannie Mae in helping us structure this credit facility, and to Natty Mac for its strong support,” said Christopher K. Hart, President of First Cal. “This is a milestone event because it addresses an obstacle that has hampered our quest to expand the availability of home loans for purchase and refinance directly and through our network of lending partners.”

“This innovative program, with its emphasis on enabling quality home financing, will help bring pricing stability to the housing market and to mortgage lending in general. This benefits both existing and new homeowners,” he added.

Lenders like First Cal use warehouse credit lines to fund mortgages, which in turn are sold to institutional investors like Fannie Mae. These credit facilities are critical to mortgage bankers, and ultimately to borrowers, as they provide liquidity that enables choice and competition, maintaining the affordability of home financing.

“This FNMA-supported credit facility validates the path we’re on. We are committed to developing a defect-free mortgage process that is also responsive to the needs of our homeowner customers and business partners, and we are clearly aligned with the government’s priorities for consumer protection, data integrity, asset quality and complete transparency for consumers and everyone involved in the mortgage market,” Hart continued.

The expanded credit facilities now in place at First Cal allow it to increase the production of residential home loans through its selected wholesale broker network, its own retail lending operation and through DealPoint, its community bank program.

“While we are evaluating a variety of strategies to expand our retail lending presence, we believe there is an equally compelling future in wholesale mortgage lending”, said Hart. “We are committed to strong relationships with our selected broker partners, helping them remain viable in the new regulatory environment while providing them competitive products and services for homeowners at the lowest possible price.”

Effective January 1, 2010, mortgage brokers and lenders began complying with new Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) guidelines for disclosing fees associated with loans. First Cal has implemented educational programs and materials that help brokers comply with the new guidelines, including personal and Web-based training presentations and loan submission guidelines that provide consumer protection and complete transparency.

According to Ralph F. Hints, Chief Financial Officer for First Cal, there are ongoing efforts to secure additional lines of credit to support other non-agency lending programs, such as FHA and VA loans, which First Cal is approved to underwrite and fund.

“It is gratifying to see opportunities like this come to First Cal,” says Hints. “We’re acknowledged as a quality organization and a top-tier lender and well-suited for Fannie Mae’s goal of enabling home ownership through responsible lending practices.”

About First Cal

Throughout its nearly 30-year history, First Cal and its affiliates have funded more than $200 billion in residential loans across the U.S. Today, First Cal is an approved FNMA Seller/Servicer, an approved HomePath Lender, and is licensed to lend in nine states: including Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

First Cal specializes in high quality, fully documented conforming, jumbo, FHA and VA loans. It is a Fannie Mae direct lender, a HUD Non-Supervised Title II Full Eagle Lender and an approved national correspondent for most of the largest U.S. banks. The company maintains its headquarters in Petaluma, Calif. and is privately owned. It is located on the Web at http://www.firstcal.net.

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David Ross

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