Industry News

Countrywide execs still set on expansion plan

Shifting lending to bank division won't curtail growth strategy

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Countrywide Financial Corp. remains determined to become the "dominant mortgage lender in the U.S." and is in the process of hiring "several hundred loan officers from companies who recently went out of business," company executives said in a memo to employees. The memo, from Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozilo and Chief Operating Officer David Sambol, was aimed at reassuring employees that the company can weather the storm in the secondary mortgage market by moving its mortgage business into Countrywide Bank "as quickly as possible." Countrywide's stock has been on a wild rollercoaster ride this week, after investment analysts who follow the company said a liquidity crisis threatened the company's ability to continue making loans. Investors are reluctant to loan money to many mortgage lenders or buy securities backed by their loans on the secondary market. A Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst warned that Countrywide could go bankrupt if the liquidity crisis continues and the company w...