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ATLANTA-Locally based BancMortgage Financial Corp., one of the top 10 mortgage originators in Georgia for the past five years, will have a new parent but will operate under the same name by year end.

Memphis, TN-based National Commercial Financial, ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the banking industry by Lehman Brothers for the past seven quarters, is buying BancMortgage for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is complex. Habersham Bancorp of Cornelia, GA owns BancMortgage. Habersham is selling BancMortgage for an undisclosed sum to the two vice chairmen of BancMortgage–Robert S. Cannon and Anthony L. Lewis.

The deal is structured this way because Cannon and Lewis are exercising a pre-existing option to buy BancMortgage, the company says in a prepared statement. After closing on the deal, Cannon and Lewis will sell BancMortgage to NCF.

“In previous de novo entries, it took several years to introduce our full array of banking and investment products,” NCF chief operating officer William R. Reed Jr. says in a prepared statement. “Integrating BancMortgage’s business and customer relationships into our existing and planned branch infrastructure will enhance our cross-sell capabilities, expediting revenue growth and profitability.”

The acquisition of BancMortgage will mark NCF’s second major purchase in the Atlanta market in less than seven weeks. On Oct. 8, NCF acquired 15 Wachovia branch buildings and assumed leases on seven other locations.

National Bank of Commerce, an NCF subsidiary, launched its first Atlanta branch in April of this year as part of an agreement to open 30 in-store locations inside selected Kroger stores by the end of 2003.

The addition of BancMortgage will almost double NCF’s mortgage origination business. BancMortgage logged $1.4 billion in 2001 loan volume and posted a compound annual growth rate of 43% during the five years ended 2001, the company says. The company has 204 employees in Georgia and Virginia. National Commercial Financial has assets of $21 billion.

NBC projects it will have about 60 branches either opened or under development in metro Atlanta by year end 2003, Reed says. Eight Wal-Mart store branches are expected to be among the new openings.

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