Industry News

Countrywide boosts March totals while cutting pay-option loans

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Countrywide Financial Corp. boosted loan production in March by 5 percent compared to last year, while drastically slashing fundings of risky pay-option loans. Countrywide's total loan production of $43 billion for the month included $3.5 billion in pay-option loans, compared to $8.8 billion in March, 2006. So far this year, Countrywide has funded $9.6 billion in pay-option loans, compared to $22 billion in the same period last year, the lender said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Refinanced loans accounted for 60 percent of total loan production, and 66 percent of the loans Countrywide funded in March carried fixed interest rates. Subprime loans accounted for 5 percent of Countrywide's total mortgage loan originations in March 2007 and 7 percent for the year to date. The number of loans pending foreclosure in Countrywide's $1.4 trillion servicing portfolio was up sharply, however, from .47 percent in March 2006 to .69 percent last month. The servicing portfolio incl...