By most accounts, the Middle Tennessee housing market is cooking. But the aftershocks of the financial crisis have resulted in an underwriting conservatism that has shut out some potential homebuyers. Nonprofit Affordable Housing Resources is looking to step in with a loan program that helps bridge the gap for house hunters with higher debt ratio and lower credit scores.
To become eligible, borrowers must show a two-year work history and take an eight-hour education class. They also must contribute a down payment of at least 1 percent.
“The pendulum has now swung so far in that direction that it is preventing responsible people from getting a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage,” said Eddie Latimer, AHR's CEO. “They are being kept from buying their first home, an important rung in the economic ladder.”
Two Avondale Partners managing directors and a senior analyst have left the locally based company for global firm Canaccord Genuity, which also has recruited a former Morgan Joseph vice chairman to set up a first Nashville office.
Making the move to Canaccord are:
• Roger Briggs Jr., who will lead Canaccord's sponsor coverage business nationwide and who was a partner at Trilantic Capital Partners from 2011 to 2013. Before that, Briggs (pictured) led Morgan Joseph's investment banking team for eight years.
• investment banker Dudley Baker, who had been with Avondale since late 2010, when he made the move from Morgan Joseph.
• health care technology and services analyst Richard Close and his right-hand man Brian Hoffman, who had been at Avondale since the springs of 2011 and 2012, respectively. Among the companies they cover is downtown-based HealthStream.
Getahn Ward with The Tennessean writes that the team is hunting for office space in Midtown or The Gulch.
Canaccord, whose shares are listed in Toronto (Ticker: CF) and in London, has a market cap of about $670 million and operations in 10 countries on four continents. The firm earlier this month recruited a team of real estate investment trust analysts in New York and San Francisco.
The move by Baker, Close and Hoffman is a blow for Avondale, whose CEO Pat Shepherd last fall told the Post he was seeking to grow his investment banking team and who early this year added former Stephens managing director Stephen Scott. Avondale's investment banking group, which is led by Jonathan Morphett, now has nine members.
The board of First Freedom Bank in Lebanon has voted to pay shareholders an annual dividend of 20 cents, up from 15 cents last year and the 10 cents it paid when launching a dividend in 2013. The nine-year-old, $300 million bank led by President and CEO John Lancaster grew its profits by nearly half last year.
Getahn Ward at The Tennessean reports that UBS is close to committing to 30,000 square feet in One Franklin Park, which already has snagged some other big names. The global financial giant, which has been busy building up its downtown operations center, will install some back-office workers in Cool Springs and also open a wealth management office that could grow to 28 people. Read more here.
First Acceptance is on a bit of a roll lately. Shares of the Green Hills-based auto insurer (Ticker: FAC) are up more than 30 percent since the end of March, and the company last month said it planned to buy more than 80 stores from Nationwide for more than $34 million. On Monday, the company said it has opened its fourth store in the Memphis area. The new location is the fifth since late last year.
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