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Subprime Drives Higher Originations at Regions

EquiFirst 2nd quarter production nearly $1.5 billion

July 19, 2004

By MortgageDaily.com staff

Soaring subprime volume by EquiFirst enabled its parent company to report a 41% boost in quarterly volume.

According to Regions Financial Corp.'s latest financial supplement, residential mortgage volume totaled $2.4 billion in the second quarter, up from $1.7 billion the previous quarter. And, unlike most other companies experiencing lower year-over-year production, the latest total is almost unchanged from the second quarter 2003.

The Birmingham, Ala.-headquartered bank said the quarterly boost in mortgage business was driven by lower interest rates at the beginning of the second quarter, "a strong mortgage origination pipeline at the end of the first quarter and strong growth in EquiFirst's East and West Coast operations."

EquiFirst, the bank's nonconforming wholesale subsidiary, originated nearly $1.5 billion in loans -- surging almost 50% above the first quarter total and about 78% over the amount in the second quarter last year, the report said.

The Alabama company said that its conforming mortgage arm, Regions Mortgage, funded the remaining $952 billion, up 30% from the previous quarter. But, volume in this division is down 42% from a year ago.

The servicing portfolio reportedly had a balance of $15.8 billion at the second quarter's end, just slightly off from the first quarter's balance.

Regions, which merged with Union Planters Corp. at the beginning of this month, announced its second quarter net income was $162 million.

"Though we still have much work to be done, our integration is under way and progressing smoothly," said Carl E. Jones Jr., Regions chairman and chief executive officer, in the announcement.

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