Sandler O’Neill Forms Structured Finance Group

Carlos Mendez has joined Sandler O’Neill + Partners to lead a new structured finance group. He previously was a senior managing director in the capital markets division of Institutional Credit Partners.

PRESS RELEASE

Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P., a full-service investment banking firm specializing in financial services companies, today announced that Carlos Mendez has joined the firm to lead its newly created Structured Finance Group. As Head of Structured Finance, Mr. Mendez will be responsible for arranging new term funding and alternative capital solutions and will advise clients on current recapitalization requirements. He will also assist in further expanding the firm’s fixed income sales and trading business. Mr. Mendez will be based in the firm’s New York headquarters.

Mr. Mendez was most recently Senior Managing Director in the capital markets division of Institutional Credit Partners LLC. As a founding member, he led the expansion of its broker dealer operations in the United States and Europe. Having completed hundreds of fixed income securities transactions across a variety of assets, including residential mortgages, commercial real estate, consumer receivables and structured credit, he now advises institutions on comprehensive financing solutions. Prior to Institutional Credit Partners, Mr. Mendez was a Director in the Structured Finance Group at Guggenheim Capital Markets.

“We are pleased to welcome Carlos to Sandler O’Neill and believe he is ideally suited to lead our newly created Structured Finance Group,” said Jon Doyle, Managing Principal and head of Sandler O’Neill’s Fixed Income Group. “His deep understanding of fixed income securities, combined with his significant advisory experience, will add tremendous value to our clients, particularly those with term funding and liquidity needs at a time of unprecedented change. We are committed to investing in new capabilities to facilitate alternative capital solutions and to expand our client relationships.”

In addition to Mr. Mendez, Joshua Eaton, Andrew Mauritzen and Chris Howley have joined Sandler O’Neill as Managing Directors and will serve as the initial members of the Structured Finance Group.

“With the banking system under continued duress and financial regulatory change forthcoming, the manner in which depository institutions operate is evolving rapidly,” said Alan Roth, Principal and head of RMBS/ABS Sales and Trading. “As a result, companies reliant on bank funding will need to rethink how they finance themselves. With the establishment of our Structured Finance Group, Sandler O’Neill will be able to provide capital market solutions that facilitate growth and provide a competitive advantage for our clients.”

“Sandler O’Neill has an established reputation for providing superior advisory services and client solutions, and I believe that the Structured Finance Group will significantly enhance value for the firm’s clients,” said Mr. Mendez. “I am thrilled about the opportunity to bring new services to Sandler O’Neill clients and look forward to working together with Jon and Alan to strengthen the firm’s services and further its position as a leading advisor to financial institutions.”

In equity capital raising, Sandler O’Neill managed more public offerings for depository institutions in 2009 than any other investment bank, with 39 transactions that raised approximately $9 billion for clients.1

About Mr. Eaton

Mr. Eaton most recently served as General Counsel and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Dune Capital Management LP where he advised on such seminal transactions as the acquisition of IndyMac Federal Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. His transaction experience also includes a wide range of asset-based, structured finance and private equity transactions involving film slate financings, commercial real estate, life settlements, aircraft, pharmaceutical royalties, distressed debt, corporate loans and debt restructurings.

About Mr. Mauritzen

Mr. Mauritzen most recently served as a Managing Director at Institutional Credit Partners LLC where he executed complex financings for companies such as PEMEX, the Mexican national oil company. He has significant experience in providing asset-based financing solutions to banks and to the specialty finance, transportation and energy industries.

About Mr. Howley

Mr. Howley most recently served as a Managing Director at Institutional Credit Partners LLC where he led the Advisory and Solutions team. He has extensive experience across a variety of asset types and structures, including hybrid corporate securities and funding solutions for corporate bonds and loans. He has demonstrated expertise in providing structured solutions for improving tier 1 and 2 capital ratios at depository institutions and statutory capital solutions for life, property and casualty and bond insurance firms.

1Source: SNL Financial, includes book run and co-managed public common equity offerings in 2009 for banks and thrifts.

About Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P.

Founded in 1988, Sandler O’Neill + Partners is a full-service investment banking firm dedicated to providing comprehensive, innovative advisory and transaction execution services to the financial industry. The firm specializes in strategic business planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, mutual-to-stock conversions, investment portfolio and interest rate risk management, fixed income securities transactions and mortgage finance restructurings. Sandler O’Neill also is a market maker in hundreds of financial stocks and publishes equity and fixed income research focused on selected banks, thrifts and insurance companies, credit card companies, investment banks, asset managers, specialty finance companies, e-finance companies, real estate investment trusts and transaction execution companies. Additional information about Sandler O’Neill can be found on the firm’s website at www.sandleroneill.com.