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More than 200 mortgage-related firms ended operations or failed last year.

Lender Failures Set New Record

More than 200 mortgage-related firms ended operations or failed last year.

During 2009, the closings of 225 mortgage-related operations were tracked at the Mortgage Graveyard — a journal of failed lenders that is maintained by MortgageDaily.com. The number of closed firms jumped from a revised 124 in 2008.

It was the worst year for the industry since MortgageDaily.com began tracking the data in 1998. The previous record was set in 2007.

The annual surge was fueled by a spike in bank failures — which increased more than 400 percent. Banks account for most of the country’s residential originations.

Credit union failures, including corporate and state-regulated institutions, were up by more than a third.

                Type                 2009   2008   2007
  Non-Bank Closures                    66     85    155
  Bank Failures (FDIC)                140     25      3
  Credit Union Failures (NCUA)         19     14      7
                             Total    225    124    165 

Among last year’s most notable failures was Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor Bean Whitaker Mortgage Corp. — which was forced into bankruptcy after it was suspended by the Federal Housing Administration in August. Melville, N.Y.-based Lend America suffered a similar fate after losing its FHA approval in November.

Montgomery, Ala.-based Colonial Bank was seized by the Alabama State Banking Department on Aug. 14 and sold to BB&T. Colonial’s collapse was tied to Taylor Bean’s failure.

Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. — the last of America’s subprime mortgage lenders — filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition in May. Two months earlier, HSBC North America — a former subprime lending behemoth — shut down its operations.

Former jumbo giant Thornburg Mortgage Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection on May 1.

Two corporate credit unions, U.S. Central Federal Credit Union and Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, were placed into conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration Board in March.

Other notable 2009 failures included AmTrust Bank, which was closed down by the Office of Thrift Supervision on Dec. 4, and BankUnited, FSB, which the OTS seized on May 21.

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