Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it may liquidate, three weeks after it closed its mortgage lending business and was suspended by a federal agency.

The Ocala, Florida-based company, which was the nation's 12th-largest U.S. mortgage lender from January to June, filed for protection from creditors on Monday with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Jacksonville.

Saying its business has been crippled, Taylor Bean said it plans to operate on a scaled-down basis as it works to recover, restructure and possibly liquidate its assets.

It named Neil Luria of Navigant Capital Advisors as chief restructuring officer, and restructuring specialists Bruce Layman and Bill Maloney to its board.

The speed of its collapse has been stunning, Luria said in a statement.

According to the bankruptcy petition, Taylor Bean has more than $1 billion of both assets and liabilities, and between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors.

The Federal Housing Administration said it suspended Taylor Bean on August 4, citing its failure to submit a required annual financial report, its having misrepresented that it had no unresolved issues with its auditor, and irregular transactions that raised concerns of fraud. The FHA also proposed to sanction the company's chief executive and its president.

Shortly afterward, Freddie Mac and the Government National Mortgage Association, also known as Ginnie Mae, suspended Taylor Bean as an issuer of mortgage securities.

These events led Taylor Bean to lay off 2,000 employees. They followed the company's failed effort to invest $300 million in Colonial BancGroup Inc to help keep the troubled Montgomery, Alabama-based lender afloat.

U.S. regulators seized Colonial's banking operations on August 14 and sold its assets to BB&T Corp , the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based regional bank.

Taylor Bean said it cannot access its Colonial bank accounts, and is in talks with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp to let it process payments for its mortgage borrowers.

The company made $17 billion of mortgage loans from January to June, for a 1.7 percent market share nationwide, according to the newsletter Inside Mortgage Finance.

A lawyer for Taylor Bean did not immediately return a call seeking further comment.

The case is: In re Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida (Jacksonville), No. 09-7047.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Tim Dobbyn)