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Fundings Fall, Foreclosures Surge at Countrywide

$34.4 billion August production

September 13, 2007

By MortgageDaily.com staff

If its pipeline activity is any indication, Countrywide Financial Corp., which reported lower monthly originations for last month, can expect originations to tumble this month. Meanwhile, foreclosures continued to surge.

Residential loan fundings totaled 192,211 loans for $34.4 billion during August, according to a monthly operations summary released today. Production dropped $4.7 billion from July and was $7.2 billion worse than a year earlier.

"Residential mortgage loan activity for the month of August reflected current mortgage market conditions," said President David Sambol in the statement.

Correspondent customers contributed $15.6 billion to the latest month, while broker business was $5.6 billion and retail originations were $13.0 billion, according to the Calabasas, Calif.-based company.

Half of August's fundings were for purchases, while adjustable-rate mortgages accounted for one-quarter of activity, the data indicated.

Home equity fundings were reported at $3.2 billion and nonprime fundings were $1.3 billion. Government business, at $2.2 billion, nearly doubled from a year earlier.

Countrywide said its residential pipeline was $51.8 billion on Aug. 31 -- tumbling from $62.3 billion the prior month.

The company's mortgage servicing portfolio was 9 million loans for $1.454 trillion, the announcement said. Delinquency was 4.90 percent, 1 basis point higher than July, while foreclosures were 1.20 percent -- jumping from 1.04 percent the prior month and 0.48 percent a year earlier.

Commercial loan production was 141 loans for $0.8 billion -- about the same as July, Countrywide reported.

The company's total employee count, which will be cut by as much as 12,000 during the remainder of the year, was 60,867 at the end of August, down from 61,586 on July 31, the statement said.

"Adjusting to the turbulent conditions in the mortgage and credit markets, the company has taken decisive steps since early August," Sambol added.

Among the steps, many which have previously been reported, was an adjustment to pricing while competition is down. Countrywide said the move "is expected to have a favorable impact on mortgage banking gain-on-sale margins and result in greater returns on the high-quality loans originated for our Bank's investment portfolio."

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