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Countrywide to Launch Investment Business

October 06, 2000|Edmund Sanders

Joining banks, insurers and others who are trying to reshape themselves into "financial supermarkets," mortgage lender Countrywide Credit Industries will announce today that it is launching an investment and mutual fund business. The Calabasas-based company said it will initially focus on California, but plans to pitch the new services--including funds, annuities, securities and investment advice--to its 2.7 million customers nationwide. Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said the new unit is part of his plan to diversify the company away from mortgages. Countrywide also offers credit cards, insurance and recently said it would like to enter the banking business. Keith Pipes, former chief financial officer at Sierra Capital Management, will lead the new investment unit. It marks Countrywide's second attempt to enter the investment business. In 1996, the company bought mutual fund manager Leshner Financial, which was renamed Countrywide Financial Services. The fund business was sold in November 1999. Countrywide officials said at the time that they would rather sell a variety of investment products than a single proprietary family of funds.

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