Everbank buys NetBank assets

Source: NetBank

NetBank, Inc (NasdaqGM: NTBK), parent company of NetBank, an online financial services provider and national prime mortgage lender, today announced that the bank has executed an asset purchase and liability assumption agreement with EverBank, an FDIC-insured, federal savings bank and subsidiary of EverBank Financial Corp, a privately held financial services holding company headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla, with approximately $4.7 billion in assets.

The purchase price represents a discount to the current carrying value of the assets and liabilities being conveyed, and NetBank anticipates recording a loss on sale of between $60 and $70 million at close.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of June 2007, subject to regulatory approval, and relates to the broader initiative the company began earlier in the year to consider strategic alternatives that would allow management to serve the interests of its customers, while protecting the company's equity position from continued erosion. The company has been under extreme financial pressure for more than a year due to a difficult mortgage origination market, a flat yield curve environment and other factors. These pressures have resulted in large operating losses that have significantly reduced the company's capital position and prompted heightened regulatory oversight.

NetBank worked closely with regulators as it evaluated various opportunities. Regulators have been increasingly concerned about the bank's capital and earnings trends and advised management to find an alternative immediately that covered all of the bank's deposit obligations. NetBank and EverBank expect to execute a separate transition service agreement where NetBank will continue to support the deposit relationships after the close until EverBank converts these relationships to its core online banking platform sometime in the third quarter.

The primary assets and liabilities in the transaction include:
  • The bank's held for investment loan portfolio;
  • All of the assets and liabilities of NetBank Business Finance, the bank's small business equipment leasing and financing operation;
  • The bank's $2.5 billion in core and brokered deposits; and
  • The NetBank brand and related trademarks and service marks.

Management Commentary

"In spite of our best efforts to improve the company's operating profile through the restructuring plan we undertook last year, our company has remained very vulnerable and at risk due to the weakened fundamentals of our core businesses," said Steven F. Herbert, chief executive officer, NetBank, Inc.

"Our mortgage operations continue to struggle in the face of a highly competitive marketplace, especially the third-party origination channel. Bank earnings have also fallen sharply as we have had to de-leverage the balance sheet in order to maintain risk-based capital ratios within appropriate regulatory guidelines.

"Our effort to manage and address these pressures was further complicated by the delay of the annual audit and greater day-to-day regulatory oversight and involvement.

"The board of directors and executive management team have spent considerable time and effort over the past several months reviewing every opportunity presented to us as well as working to create others," Herbert continued. "In contemplating any action, we had the interests of our shareholders, customers and employees firmly in mind.

"The transaction we are announcing today monetizes a significant portion of the company's assets and will allow the bank to fulfill all of its deposit liabilities. EverBank offers a full line of products with industry leading deposits rates. It is better positioned than almost anyone else in the online banking marketplace to build on the value proposition that our customers came to us for in the first place.

"By transferring the deposit relationships and resolving the chief concern of regulators, we are now positioned to move forward with other restructuring initiatives, such as the shutdown of our third-party mortgage origination business, NetBank Funding Services.

"Our remaining businesses will include our mortgage servicing operation, along with our retail prime mortgage franchise, Market Street Mortgage," Herbert concluded. "We are actively evaluating their long-term strategic alternatives as well as those of the parent company as a whole. We have also retained our CMC claim and the deferred tax asset that we generated in the fourth quarter of 2006. After consummation of the EverBank transaction, we will focus intensely on prosecuting the CMC sureties and pursuing our claim against them, which we now estimate at $150 million."

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