Barclays to Acquire EquiFirst from Regions Financial Corporation

Jan 19, 2007, 00:00 ET from Barclays Bank PLC

    NEW YORK, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Barclays Bank PLC ("Barclays")
 announces that it has entered into an agreement to purchase EquiFirst
 Corporation, the non-prime mortgage origination business of Regions
 Financial Corporation ("Regions"), for a consideration of approximately
 US$225 million (115 million pounds Sterling). Completion is expected in the
 first half of 2007, subject to the receipt of the required licenses and
 applicable regulatory approval. In the third year of ownership, Barclays
 expects to achieve an annual after-tax return on this investment in excess
 of 20%. Barclays will finance the transaction out of existing cash
     EquiFirst is the 12th largest non-prime wholesale mortgage originator
 in the United States. It originates its loans through over 9,000 brokers in
 47 states. It will be combined with Barclays mortgage servicing and capital
 markets capabilities to create a vertically integrated mortgage franchise.
 Barclays believes that a vertically integrated mortgage franchise can
 deliver significant synergies through linking our established capital
 markets business with servicing and origination capabilities.
     Barclays Capital currently has an active wholesale loan mortgage
 business in the US which involves the purchase and securitization of
 mortgages on a principal basis. All the loans originated by EquiFirst are
 expected to be securitized or sold on an ongoing basis after an average
 hold period of approximately 2 to 3 months. This acquisition builds on the
 recent purchase of HomEq, a mortgage servicing platform, acquired by
 Barclays in November 2006.
     Grant Kvalheim, Co-President of Barclays Capital, commented, "I am
 delighted to acquire such a strong management team within EquiFirst and we
 welcome the EquiFirst staff to Barclays Capital. This acquisition offers
 Barclays Capital an excellent opportunity to further vertically integrate
 and expand our existing US mortgage business."
     Dowd Ritter, President and CEO of Regions Financial (NYSE:   RF), said,
 "This sale is the result of a tighter focus on our strategic priorities.
 Regions is concentrating on customer relationships and core businesses in
 our 16-state footprint. We operate in very attractive markets in the South,
 Midwest and Texas and believe they represent the greatest potential for
     Jeff Tennyson, CEO of EquiFirst, said, "Regions' ownership of EquiFirst
 over the last 8 years has allowed us to build a premier mortgage lender in
 the non-prime industry. Barclays Capital is a leading international
 investment bank that will strengthen our position as an industry leader and
 greatly enhance our access to the global capital markets. The sale of
 EquiFirst to Barclays Capital is a clear positive event for all
     About Barclays
     Barclays Bank PLC is a major global financial services provider engaged
 in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth
 management and investment management services. We are one of the largest
 financial services companies in the world by market capitalization. With
 over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in
 over 60 countries and employs around 120,000 people, we move, lend, invest
 and protect money for over 25 million customers and clients worldwide. For
 further information about Barclays PLC please visit our website .
     About Barclays Capital
     Barclays Capital is the investment banking division of Barclays Bank
 PLC which has an AA long-term credit rating and a balance sheet of over 986
 billion pounds Sterling (US$1.8 trillion*). With a distinctive business
 model, Barclays Capital provides large corporate, government and
 institutional clients with solutions to their financing and risk management
 needs. Barclays Capital has offices in 26 countries, employs over 10,500
 people and has the global reach and distribution power to meet the needs of
 issuers and investors worldwide. Barclays Capital completed the acquisition
 of HomEq, the US mortgage servicing business, in the second-half of 2006,
 which added 1,300 employees. For further information about Barclays
 Capital, please visit our website . *US$ figure was
 derived using the US$/pounds Sterling exchange rate at 30.06.06 of
 US$1.85/1 pound.
     About Regions Financial Corporation
     Regions Financial Corporation is a member of the S&P 100 Index and
 Forbes Magazine's "Platinum 400" list of America's best big companies. With
 more than US$140 billion in assets, Regions is one of the nation's largest
 full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, trust,
 securities brokerage, mortgage and insurance products and services. Regions
 serves customers in 16 states across the South, Midwest and Texas, and
 through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates some 2,000 AmSouth and
 Regions banking offices and more than 2,400 ATMs. Its investment and
 securities brokerage, trust and asset management division, Morgan Keegan &
 Company Inc., provides services from over 300 offices. Additional
 information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be
 found at .
     Forward-looking statements
     This document contains certain forward-looking statements within the
 meaning of Section 21E of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as
 amended, and Section 27A of the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended, with
 respect to certain of Barclays plans and its current goals and expectations
 relating to its future financial condition and performance, in particular
 with respect to Barclays Capital. These forward-looking statements can be
 identified by the fact that they do not relate only to historical or
 current facts. Forward-looking statements sometimes use words such as
 'aim,' 'anticipate,' 'target,' 'expect,' 'estimate,' 'intend,' 'plan,'
 'goal,' 'believe,' or other words of similar meaning. Examples of
 forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding
 Barclays future financial position, income growth, impairment charges,
 business strategy, projected levels of growth in the banking and financial
 markets, projected costs, estimates of capital expenditures, and plans and
 objectives for future operations.
     By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and
 uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances,
 including, but not limited to, global as well as US economic and business
 conditions, market related risks such as changes in interest rates and
 exchange rates, the policies and actions of governmental and regulatory
 authorities, changes in legislation, and the impact of competition -- a
 number of which factors are beyond Barclays control. As a result, Barclays
 actual future results may differ materially from the plans, goals, and
 expectations set forth in Barclays forward-looking statements. Any
 forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of Barclays speak only as
 of the date they are made. Barclays does not undertake to update
 forward-looking statements to reflect any changes in Barclays expectations
 with regard thereto or any changes in events, conditions or circumstances
 on which any such statement is based. The reader should, however, consult
 any additional disclosures that Barclays has made or may make in documents
 it has filed or may file with the SEC.

SOURCE Barclays Bank PLC