Popular, Puerto Rico's largest bank, said this morning it had agreed to buy online consumer-direct lender E-Loan for about $300 million in cash, expanding its U.S. lending businesses. The transaction will expand Popular's reach in the U.S. market and complement its existing nonprime and warehouse-lending businesses. E-Loan originated more than $5 billion in mortgage, home equity and auto loans in 2004. E-Loan will maintain its brand and become a unit of Popular Financial Holdings, operating in Pleasanton, Calif. Mark Lefanowicz, the CEO and president of E-Loan, will serve as president. Additionally, E-Loan will retain most of its employees. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Shares of E-Loan had jumped $1, or 32.36 percent, to $4.09, at 11 a.m. Eastern tim...
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