PennyMac, AmeriHome Mortgage and Stearns Lending have several things in common.
All are among the nation's largest mortgage lenders — and none are banks. They're part of a growing class of alternative lenders that now extend more than 4 in 10 home loans.
All are headquartered in Southern California, the epicenter of the last decade's subprime lending industry. And all are run by former executives of Countrywide Financial, the once-giant mortgage lender that made tens of billions of dollars in risky loans that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
This time, the executives say, will be different.
Unlike their subprime forebears, the firms maintain that...