Mortgage loans funded by Countrywide Financial Corp. fell below the $40 billion-a-month mark in July for the first time since February, the company said Tuesday, while foreclosures as a percentage of principal balance surged through the 1 percent threshold. The $39 billion in mortgage loans funded in July by the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender represented a 6 percent increase over the same month last year, but a 13.7 percent decline from the $45.3 billion loans funded in June. The decline reflected a shrinking mortgage market and Countrywide's tighter lending guidelines, which have "significantly curtailed total production," said David Sambol, president and chief operating officer, in a statement. Purchase loan fundings fell 9.8 percent from June to $18.7 billion, while home equity and refinance loans were down 17 percent from the previous month, to $20.3 billion. Average daily mortgage loan application activity for July was $2.7 billion, down 15.3 percent from June, and ...
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