Credit Suisse London Branch last week bought a 51% stake in Oakwood Group subsidiary Oakwood Homeloans. Oakwood will retain the 49% share and continue to manage the platform and existing mortgage book. According to Credit Suisse, the acquisition is a step toward increasing its presence in the European mortgage market.
"In the short term, we look forward to acquiring additional portfolios through OHL and bringing them to the capital markets. Over the longer term, OHL will form an important part of our strategy as we pursue our long term goals in the European mortgage market," said James Bamber, a director at Credit Suisse responsible for the acquisition and implementation of the Oakwood platform said in a statement last week. Credit Suisse considers the acquisition part of its "ongoing acquisition program."
Credit Suisse plans to acquire additional portfolios through the OHL platform. The bank will continue to issue off of the lender's Alba shelf, which was created last November. The first securitization off the shelf, Alba 2005-1, combined with the most recent L556 million Alba 2006-1 deal closed on June 16, brings the value of total assets securitized by OHL to roughly L858 million. Oakwood will continue to manage the existing deals. (Homeloan Management will service the deals, while OHL will act as special servicer.)
Oakwood's relationship with Credit Suisse began prior to the acquisition. The company early last year signed an agreement with Credit Suisse that allowed the company to acquire and securitize portfolios from a handful of lenders. The sale of OHL is expected to allow Oakwood Group to focus on the launch of Edeus, a separate U.K. specialist residential mortgage lending platform, slated for later this year. That business is to be led by Michael Bolton, formerly of BM Solutions.