State agency shuts down Centennial Mortgage

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 28, 2008 - 8:22 PM

One of the state's larger privately held mortgage lenders in the Twin Cities, Centennial Mortgage and Funding Inc. of Bloomington, was shut down Friday by the Minnesota Department of Commerce for what it called "financial irresponsibility or incompetence."

The cease-and-desist order for the company, also doing business as Award Mortgage, was signed Friday by company President Alvin Gelschus.

Department spokesman Bill Walsh said that such orders, issued in this case for what he calls "substantial financial problems," are unusual for a company this size. They're more common in cases involving companies operating without a license.

The department told the company, which has been licensed since 1999, to stop taking new applications.

Centennial is a "correspondent" lender, which means it's a large broker that can also finance its own loans. A traditional broker typically arranges financing but doesn't use its own cash.

Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication, said that in 2006, the latest year for which data was available, Centennial closed 1,828 mortgages.

Staff writer Chris Serres contributed to this report. Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376

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