Industry News

Countrywide sees big drop in January purchase loans

Rise in applications points to February rebound

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Countrywide Financial Corp. saw mortgage loan production fell 6.5 percent in January from the previous month, to $21.9 billion, as an increase in refinancings failed to offset a 24.5 percent decline in purchase loan production. A 5 percent increase in loan refinancings from December, to $15 billion, helped offset the decline in purchase loan funding in January, and there are signs that loan production could rebound in a big way in February. Countywide reported daily mortgage loan applications rose 71.6 percent from December, to 2,639, and that applications in the pipeline increased by 45.6 percent, to 51,038 -- a level not seen since August. Countrywide's purchase loan production for January totaled $6.8 billion, a low the company has not seen in years. The Calabasas, Calif.-based lender saw purchase loan production plummet from $17.2 billion in August to $9.6 billion in September, after secondary mortgage market investors stopped buying most loans not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie ...