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Major banks put $20 million in Ultraprise

January 11, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Three national banking firms have decided to invest $20 million to help a local company expand its Internet operations that allow banks to buy and sell loans over the Internet.

Ultraprise, which operates out of two office buildings in Shepherdstown, operates a Web site where banks can buy and sell mortgage loans to each other.

After a person completes the paperwork for a home loan, the loan is often sold to another bank or sometimes investment companies, according to Ultraprise officials.

Before Ultraprise developed its Web site, the process of selling loans was inefficient because banks spent a lot of time trying to contact each other on the telephone to consummate deals, according to Ultraprise spokesman Steve Campbell.

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Over the Internet their transactions are almost instantaneous, he said.

Started last February, the company has had about $1.5 billion worth of loan transactions through the site, said David Levine, chairman and chief executive officer of the firm.

On Tuesday, Ultraprise officials announced that three investment firms on the East Coast have agreed to invest $20 million to help Ultraprise expand, Campbell said.

First Union, based in Charlotte, N.C., and Citigroup and G.E. Capital, both headquartered in Connecticut, will each get a seat on Ultraprise's board of directors in return for the investment, Campbell said.

Levine said the money will be used to expand the Web site to include buying and selling of commercial and student loans.

The money will also be used to double Ultraprise's marketing and sales staff, which currently has about 25 employees, Levine said.

About 80 employees make up Ultraprise, which also has offices in Frederick, Md., and Sterling, Va.

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