Countrywide Financial Corp. today reported that its total loan fundings for December grew 11 percent from the previous month and jumped 38 percent from their year-ago level.

Fundings for December totaled $35 billion, up from $25.1 billion a year ago. Fundings for the fourth quarter totaled $95 billion, 4 percent higher than the third quarter of 2004 and 25 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2003. Total fundings for 2004 reached $363 billion, making it the second-best year in company history.

Monthly purchase volume rose 9 percent over the last month to $17 billion, 36 percent more than December 2003. Quarterly purchase volume of $47 billion declined by 11 percent from the third quarter, consistent with anticipated seasonal variability, but was 36 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2003. Total yearly purchase activity set a new record at $176 billion.

Adjustable-rate loan fundings of $18 billion for the month were 12 percent higher than last month and 91 percent greater than December 2003. Quarterly adjustable-rate loan volume of $51 billion was down 9 percent from the third quarter, but was 78 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2003.

Adjustable-rate loan fundings for the year reached a new high of $190 billion.

Monthly home equity loan fundings of $3.1 billion were up 3 percent compared to last month and 74 percent more than December 2003. Quarterly home equity loan fundings reached a new high of $9.2 billion, up 2 percent over the third quarter and 79 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2003. Home equity loan volume for 2004 reached a new record high of $31 billion.

Subprime loan volume for December rose by 24 percent over last month to a new monthly record of $4.3 billion, an increase of 91 percent over December 2003. Subprime loan fundings for the fourth quarter totaled $11 billion, a decline of 8 percent from the third quarter, but 65 percent more than the fourth quarter of 2003. As such, yearly subprime loan volume set a new record at $39 billion.

Average daily application activity remained at the $2 billion level for the month of December, down 1 percent from November 2004, but 48 percent greater than December 2003.

The pipeline of loans-in-process was $48 billion, down 6 percent from last month, but 45 percent higher than December 2003.

The servicing portfolio rose to $838 billion, up $193 billion, or 30 percent, over December 2003.

Countrywide is headquartered in Calabasas, Calif.

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