Industry News

Top lender to trim 2,500 workers

Mortgage banking profits slip at Countrywide

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With profits from mortgage banking down 40 percent for the quarter, Countrywide Financial Corp. said it is moving forward with plans to lay off more than 2,500 workers and keep revenue flowing by emphasizing products like refinance, reverse mortgage, commercial and construction loans. In part because those measures are already underway, Countrywide was able to post third-quarter profits of $648 million, a 2 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Earnings per share remained flat at $1.03, but the $2.05 billion profit for the year to date represents a 9 percent increase from this time last year. In announcing third-quarter results, Countrywide revealed details of a plan to buy back $2.5 billion of its own stock. The company said it would spend $1 billion to $2 billion on the effort in the last quarter of 2006, and could issue up to $1.8 billion in debt securities to finance the buyback. Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo said the mortgage banking industry is going through a per...