Countrywide Financial Corp. funded $23.1 billion in residential mortgage loans in November, up 5 percent from October but down 40 percent from a year ago.

As has been the case in every month during the past year except August, refinancings ($13.4 billion) surpassed purchase loans ($9.7 billion).

Countrywide, which posted a $1.2 billion third-quarter loss — its first in 25 years — said delinquencies and foreclosures in the company’s $1.47 trillion loan servicing portfolio continued to rise in November.

Delinquencies as a percentage of unpaid principal balance hit 6.25 percent in November, up from 5.94 percent the previous month and 4.15 percent a year ago. Foreclosures pending hit 1.28 percent, compared with 0.6 percent a year ago.

Subprime loan fundings have dwindled to almost nothing, as Countrywide has shifted production to loans eligible for repurchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The $17 million in subprime loans funded in November compares with $42 million in October and $3.1 billion in November 2006.

At $3.3 billion, adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loan fundings were up slightly from $3.1 billion in October, but represented only a fraction of the $14.3 billion in ARM loans funded in November 2006.

Countrywide announced in October that it had launched an initiative to refinance 52,000 borrowers who hold about $10 billion in ARM loans into prime, fixed-rate mortgages. The company also committed to modifying the terms on $6 billion in loans, including about 10,000 delinquent loans totaling $2.2 billion.

According to statistics released by the company today, Countrywide continues to shed employees in loan originations, while adding staff in loan servicing.

At 23,424, the November head count in loan originations was down 2,264 positions from October, and has fallen by 10,902 workers since a peak in July.

The headcount in loan servicing hit 8,687 in November, up 194 from October and an increase of 1,719 employees from a year ago.

In a response to the credit crunch in financial markets, Countrywide has moved to fund loans through its banking division. Chief Operating Officer David Sambol said retail deposits at Countrywide Bank reached $31 billion at the end of November, up from $29 billion the previous month and $24 billion a year ago.

“Our plan to have nearly 200 financial centers open by year-end is on track with 170 up and running at the end of November,” Sambol said in a statement.

Unions representing hotel and textile workers have launched a boycott of Countrywide Bank, saying the company is not doing enough to help troubled borrowers.

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