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2 ex-Golden West execs depart from Wachovia

Two former Golden West Financial Corp. executives have left Wachovia Corp., which has suffered massive losses after buying the California-based mortgage lender in 2006.

Tim Wilson and Rich Fikani, who assumed top jobs in the combined mortgage unit after the $24 billion acquisition, are no longer with the company, spokesman Don Vecchiarello said. This summer, Wachovia said the executives' positions were in flux as losses mounted in Golden West's Pick-A-Payment mortgage portfolio, which Wachovia bought at the housing boom's peak.

The now-ailing Wachovia is being sold to Wells Fargo & Co. of San Francisco.

In recent months, Wachovia has added new mortgage leaders reporting to unit head David Pope, including former Bank of America Corp. executive Mike Kula and former Washington Mutual Inc. executive Steve Champney. Bob McGee, a Wachovia executive who helped guide the integration with Golden West, has returned to Charlotte from California to lead a restructuring of the mortgage unit, Vecchiarello said.

Wachovia said this summer that it would cut 5,000 of 11,500 jobs in its mortgage unit. The business's future is uncertain because Wells Fargo has a much bigger and better performing mortgage operation.

Another top Wachovia executive, Peter Sidebottom, is one of the officials leading an effort to refinance Golden West's Pick-A-Payment loans into traditional loans. The bank plans to start participating in the “Hope for Homeowners” program that allows banks to convert troubled loans into Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages by the end of November, Vecchiarello said.

Rick Rothacker
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