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Fastest Growing Mortgage Companies

New Century top mortgage lender on Fortune list

September 7, 2004

By COCO SALAZAR


Several mortgage-related entities made Fortune's latest list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies -- and a subprime lender led the pack.

Climbing nine spots from last year's ranking and topping the mortgage-related list, the third fastest growing company in the nation was New Century Financial. The subprime lender's revenues grew 91% over the past three years, according to Fortune. The company's second quarter record volume of $12.3 billion reportedly increased 46% over the previous quarter.

The three factors considered in the rankings were revenue growth, earnings growth and total market return from June 30, 2001, to June 30, 2004. Among the traits required to be considered for the rankings, companies had to have a minimum market capitalization of $50 million, at least $50 million in revenues over the past four quarters, and 20% or better annual growth in sales and earnings per share over the past three years. Companies that were real estate investment trusts over the entire three-year period were excluded.

At No. 7 was Countrywide Financial with a 3-year annualized rate growth of 71%. The Calabasas, Calif. lender has also made Fortune's lists of most admired companies and largest national and international companies.

"Achievement of this prestigious ranking underscores Countrywide's strength and our vision of dominating the financial services industry while keeping mortgage banking at our core," Countrywide chairman and CEO Angelo R. Mozilo said in a written statement.

Countrywide reported that its servicing portfolio hit a record $747 billion as of the end of July and that it had achieved year-to-date mortgage fundings in excess of $200 billion.

Hovnanian Enterprises moved up three spots from last year to No. 12. The New Jersey-based homebuilder originates mortgages through banker K. Hovnanian American Mortgage LLC, and has made the "fastest growing" rankings three years in a row.

The 29th spot belonged to NetBank. The Georgia-based dot.com mortgage banker reported it produced $5.6 billion in conforming and nonconforming loans in the second quarter.

Flagstar Bancorp dropped 15 spots to No. 36 this year. The Michigan thrift and mortgage lender saw its stock more than double in 2003, yet saw its mortgage production slip to $9 billion in the second quarter.

The 52nd "fastest growing" was Orleans Homebuilders. The parent company of mortgage company Alambry Funding Inc. came in 23 spaces below the previous year's ranking.

Another homebuilder followed at No. 53. D.R. Horton, the parent company of CH Home Mortgage, was also one of this year's "most admired" and largest 500.

In at No. 56 was New York Community Bancorp. In its latest earnings announcement, the lender said that in the past four years, assets have grown from $2 billion to $24 billion -- "the result of three merger transactions, organic loan production, and a strategy that capitalized on the steepest yield curve in a period of ten years." Of the $2.1 billion in second quarter mortgage originations, $1.5 billion were multifamily. However, the lender fell 49 spots from last year, and Fortune highlighted that "a string of bad investments in mortgage securities has hit the stock."