Largest privately-owned mortgage company in the area folds - - Jackson, MS

Flowood, MS 02/04/09

Largest privately-owned mortgage company in the area folds

By Monica Hernandez - bio | email

FLOWOOD, MS (WLBT) - An employee of Realty Mortgage Corporation in Flowood for nearly 20 years, Edna O'Flarity is packing up everything in her office.

"I don't understand how it can happen so quickly and your life is just torn out from right under you," said O'Flarity, a senior closing manager.

After over two decades in business, the largest privately owned mortgage company in the Jackson metro area has folded. At it's height, the homegrown Mississippi company had 600 employees in 48 states. It downsized to 300 employees, all of whom, suddenly, no longer have a job.

"I just can't believe that after this many years and after all this company has done for the state of Mississippi and for our local area, that there is no other option out there," said Sally Wood, former operations manager for Realty Mortgage.

According to Wood, the company's owners, Tommy Taylor and Charley Myers, were too devastated to speak with WLBT. But Wood said the two had been in negotiations with Bank of America for months. On February 3rd, Bank of America froze Realty Mortgage's line of credit, so the company can no longer make loans, and therefore can no longer operate.

"It appears to me it's mostly going to be a national problem where a national lending company has cut back on loans. I don't think it's a reflection on Realty Mortgage's production," said John Jenkins, president of the Jackson Association of Realtors.

"The whole thing flies in the face of the large package of [bailout] money Bank of America has received," said Wood "It concerns me that we are in the industry targeted to be bolstered [by the bailout], and we haven't seen any support from the government or large lending institutions."

Some offices in Realty Mortgage were empty February 4th, but many employees showed up to work despite the fact that Realty Mortgage isn't able to make payroll and no longer has a health insurance account.

"Most of us are willing to do whatever we can to help the owners of Realty Mortgage continue to operate," said Wood.

Wood said the owners of Realty Mortgage are looking into other options for a line of credit. She added that Realty Mortgage is working with Bank of America to service any outstanding loans.


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