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Countrywide Lends Record Amount During September

October 09, 2002|DARYL STRICKLAND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Countrywide Credit Industries Inc., the nation's largest independent mortgage lender, said Tuesday that it funded a record $25.3 billion in home loans last month as many property owners raced to refinance.

The Calabasas-based company exceeded its previous record--set in August--by 19% and topped results from the same period a year ago by 143%.

"It was stronger than I expected," said Richard Eckert, a research analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. in Los Angeles, who had predicted Countrywide would lend about $22 billion.

With mortgage rates dropping to the lowest levels since the 1960s, the majority of mortgage applications are coming from consumers eager to refinance. The lender registered a record $17.5 billion in refinancing and home equity loans in September, compared with $6 billion in the same period a year ago.

The value of loans for purchasing homes rose 80% over September 2001 to $7.76 billion, the third-highest mark ever. The value of loans in the process of being completed totaled $51.2 billion in September, the company said, compared with $21 billion a year ago.

News of the monthly results pushed up Countrywide's shares $2.80 to $45.42 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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