Countrywide Financial Corp. boosted loan production in the first three months of the year but reported an $893 million net loss for the first quarter as charge-offs climbed and the company boosted loss provisions. The Calabasas, Calif.-based lender earned $434 million in the same quarter a year ago, but has been in the red since posting a $1.2 billion net loss in the third quarter and a $422 million net loss in the fourth quarter of 2007. Countrywide officials said the company boosted first-quarter loan originations by 6 percent from the previous quarter, to $73 billion, but provisions for credit losses on residential loans hit $1.5 billion, up from $925 million in the previous quarter and $158 million a year ago. Countrywide said charge-offs totaled $606 million, compared with $283 million in the fourth quarter of 2007 and $39 million a year ago. Countrywide boosted reserves to credit losses by $1 billion, to $3.4 billion. About 72 percent of mortgages funded during the...
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