Industry News

Subprime loans hurt Countrywide’s bottom line

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First-quarter revenue from subprime mortgage lending at Countrywide Financial Corp. dropped by $400 million from the previous quarter, the company reported today, while rising delinquencies and increased loss reserves drove up credit costs by $132 million. Countrywide's net earnings of $434 million, or 72 cents per share, were down 30 percent from $622 million, or $1.01 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2006, and off 36 percent from $684 million, or $1.10 per share, in the first quarter of last year. Pretax earnings in mortgage banking plummeted from $453 million in the fourth quarter of 2006 to $100 million in the first quarter of 2007. But Countrywide firmed up its bottom line for the quarter by boosting pretax earnings in two other lines of business: capital markets (up 33 percent from the previous quarter, to $132 million) and insurance (up 140 percent, to $180 million). Countrywide Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozilo said the company's "increasingly diverse business model" ha...