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by CareyBot

Countrywide Financial Corp. today reported consolidated first quarter net earnings of $691 million, a 112 percent increase over net earnings in the first quarter of 2003.   Earnings per diluted share increased 82 percent over the same quarter last year to $2.22.   Total loan production volume was $76 billion for the quarter, lower than the volume of $102 billion for the first quarter of 2003. The servicing portfolio rose to a record $683 billion.   Countrywide's mortgage banking segment, which includes production, servicing and loan closing services, contributed 71 percent of consolidated pre-tax earnings for the first quarter. Mortgage banking earnings increased 126 percent from the first quarter of 2003.   "In the mortgage banking segment, principal success factors i...