Thursday, March 13, 2008

Countrywide reports dip in delinquencies; foreclosure rate climbs


(03-13) 10:15 PDT Los Angeles (AP) --

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Thursday its place loan delinquency charge per unit dipped slightly in February compared to the former month, but foreclosure rates kept climbing.

The nation's biggest mortgage loaner and servicer said loan delinquencies as a per centum of unpaid principal balance drop to 7.44 percentage last calendar month from 7.47 percentage in January.

Delinquencies still remained far higher than a twelvemonth earlier, when they stood at 4.48 percent.

The lender's foreclosure charge per unit increased to 1.64 percentage in February, compared to 1.48 percentage in January and 0.80 percentage a twelvemonth earlier.

Loan servicers accumulate mortgage payments and administer them to the proprietors of the mortgages. The Calabasas, Calif.-based lender services mortgages totaling about $1.48 trillion.

The company's loan origins improved last calendar month compared to January despite a gradual uptick in mortgage involvement rates. The norm charge per unit on a 30-year, fixed mortgage hovered between 5.67 percentage and 6.24 percentage in February, according to Freddie Mac.

Countrywide originated $25.6 billion in loans in February, up from $21.94 billion in January but down from $35.26 billion in the same calendar month a twelvemonth ago.

The lender's mortgage grapevine — loans in advancement that have got not been funded — stood at $48 billion at the end of February, down from $51 billion in January, the company said.

Countrywide tightened its loaning guidelines as mortgage defaults began to skyrocket last twelvemonth and investors soured on buying mortgages in the secondary marketplace — cardinal beginning of working capital for Countrywide and other lenders.

As a result, the company have sought to concentrate on making so-called conforming loans that loaners can sell to government-sponsored mortgage companies Freddie Macintosh and Fannie Mae and pulled back on originating adjustable-rate mortgage loans and place equity lines of credit.

The loaner funded $3.2 billion in conforming loans in February, up from about $1 billion in the same calendar month last year. Adjustable-rate mortgages totaled $3.9 billion, down from $12.5 billion a twelvemonth earlier.

Home equity loan supports drop to $691 million, compared to $2.9 billion in February 2007.

Countrywide, which had made a pattern of providing monthly loan production updates, said it would only issue quarterly figs from now on.

The company lost about $1.6 billion in the last six calendar months of 2007 as higher defaults forced the loaner to hike its commissariat for awaited losses.

Earlier this year, Depository Financial Institution of United States Corp. agreed to get Countrywide for about $4 billion in stock.

Shares of Countrywide rose a penny to $4.76 during noon trading.


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