Mutual of Omaha Bank Enters Reverse with Synergy One Acquisition

In the wake of recent changes that have substantially altered the lending landscape, the reverse mortgage space has a new entrant.

Mutual of Omaha Bank on Thursday announced the purchase of Synergy One Lending, a San Diego-based lender and top-five originator of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages through its Retirement Funding Solutions brand.

“We are a strong cultural fit — with both of us committed to collaboration, accountability, and customer-focus — and our businesses are extremely complementary,” Mutual of Omaha chairman and CEO Jeff Schmid said in a statement announcing the deal. “We are excited by the potential this acquisition offers both companies to expand and serve more customers in the mortgage and reverse mortgage markets.”

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Synergy One will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nebraska-based Mutual of Omaha, originating loans under its own name and maintaining its headquarters in San Diego. Mutual of Omaha Mortgage president Terry Connealy will oversee Synergy One’s operations on behalf of its new parent company.

“The combined company is fully aligned on vision, culture, and purpose as we aim to build the best mortgage enterprise in the market, while maintaining our core values and commitment to serving others,” Synergy One president and CEO Torrey Larsen said in the statement.

Larsen previously served as president of Security One Lending, which Walter Investment Management Corp. (NYSE: WAC) purchased for $31 million in 2013.

Mutual of Omaha’s entrance into the space represents a significant splash in a reverse-mortgage marketplace still grappling with a substantial decline in volume after principal limit factors were reduced last fall. The bank’s release referred to the reverse mortgage as “a valuable financial-planning tool for seniors.”

Synergy One sat at fifth place in Reverse Market Insight’s most recent breakdown of the top 10 Federal Housing Administration-approved HECM lenders, with 3,277 loans originated during the 12 months ended in April 2018.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Written by Alex Spanko