Texas mortgage company making a big play in Colorado

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Houston-based Cornerstone Mortgage Co., continuing its aggressive expansion into Colorado, has opened a branch in the Springs.

The new location is at 240 Writers Way, southeast of downtown. Since it began its push in Colorado last year, the company has opened 23 offices across the state.

The company’s Colorado headquarters are in Fort Collins, and its other offices are located in such cities as Denver, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Steamboat Springs.

Despite the downturn, which hit the mortgage business especially hard, Cornerstone has been growing nationwide. In 2006, the company operated in nine states and had 500 employers. These days, it operates in 13 states, with more than 900 employees and has 76 offices nationwide.

Last year, Cornerstone also expanded into Louisiana and has grown in all states in which it already operates, including Utah, Missouri and Nevada.

“Our top priorities are to fulfill the financial needs and goals of each individual client, to make the home-financing process smooth and streamlined and to close on time with no surprises,” said Colorado Division President Gene Humphries.

Jean Daniell is the branch manager at the new Springs office, while Dottie Anderson is a loan officer and Becca Taylor-Mercil is a processor.

M&A roundup

Colorado saw a lot of merger-and-acquisition activity in 2010. Sixty-one deals, totaling $35.2 billion, were closed last year. That’s the highest total annual value for M&A activity in Colorado since 2007, according to MergerMarkets.com.

The figures also represent a gigantic increase — 87 percent — in deal value from 2009, which saw $18.8 billion.

That said, the fourth quarter of last year, with 13 deals, had the lowest fourth-quarter number of deals since 2003.

The second quarter of 2010 had the highest quarterly value of deals, $29.9 billion, since the second quarter of 2007, with its $53.9 billion in deals.

Telecommunications, media and technology accounted for 65 percent of deal value and about 30 percent of deal volume last year.

The region’s largest deal, the merger of Denver-based Qwest Communications and CenturyLink, valued at over $22 billion, boosted all of the seven financial and nine legal advisers on the deal to the top of their respective rankings by value.

With $28.6 billion in deals, Deutsche Bank topped the financial adviser league tables. Houlihan Lokey advised on the highest number of deals, eight, valued at $220 million.

Leading the rankings by deal value was Latham and Watkins, with $34 billion, while Hogan Lovells had the highest number of legal deals, with 10 deals valued at $971 million.

Credit counseling turns 60

On the heels of the worst recession in decades, and record-breaking bankruptcy filings, I thought it would be a good time to let people know that the National Foundation for Credit Counseling has been around for 60 years now.

Bankruptcy laws were tightened considerably in 2005 — but that only curtailed the number of bankruptcies that were filed until the recession hit. Since then, filings have increased each year. Last year, consumer, or personal bankruptcies rose 9 percent over the prior year, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

In Colorado, only 9,987 bankruptcies were filed in 2006. By 2009, that number had nearly tripled, soaring to 28,301.

The NFCC has been around longer than any other credit counseling foundation, and has nearly 100 member agencies in more than 800 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The Springs also is home to an NFCC-related agency, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Southern Colorado.

All told, nationwide, these agencies help about four million consumers annually with issues regarding bankruptcy, debt and housing, by counseling people online, in-person or by phone.

Agencies have kept busy providing the counseling that is mandated before filing bankruptcy and before the bankruptcy can be discharged. In the past few years, this particular service has grown by double digits.

Rebecca Tonn can be reached at rebecca.tonn@csbj.com or 719-329-5229. Friend her on Facebook.