Beazer exiting five markets, closing mortgage unit

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Countrywide Financial Corp. will be the "preferred mortgage provider" for customers of Beazer Homes USA Inc. as the builder closes its troubled mortgage origination unit and winds down home-building operations in five markets. Originations through Beazer Mortgage Corp. are discontinued "effective immediately," Beazer said today in announcing an agreement in which Countrywide loan counselors will market loans to buyers at all Beazer Homes' projects. Beazer announced on March 29 that it had been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Western District of North Carolina, which sought documents related to its mortgage origination services. The subpoena followed a series of stories in the Charlotte Observer documenting cases in which the company appeared to have broken rules governing down-payment assistance, placing buyers in homes they couldn't afford, and including the cost of financial incentives in the price of the homes. In October, Beazer officials said they wou...