Countrywide 1st-Quarter Net Rises 30%

Bloomberg News

Countrywide Credit Industries Inc., the largest independent home mortgage company, said fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 30% as low interest rates prompted a boom in home buying. Calabasas-based Countrywide said net income rose to $90.8 million, or 78 cents a diluted share, from $70.0 million, or 64 cents, in the quarter ended May 31, in line with analysts' forecasts. Low rates and an expanding economy are boosting demand for homes. The lender has "taken a cyclical business and smoothed it out" by concentrating on making new loans and servicing old loans, said Thomas O'Donnell, an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney Inc. Countrywide's income from new loans almost tripled to $136 million from $45.7 million a year earlier. Revenue from lending more than doubled to $297.8 million. The fees the company collects for making new loans also increased more than twofold, to $138.8 million. Income reported from selling loans rose 76% to $159.0 million. Countrywide made $20.9 billion of new loans in the quarter, up from $9.4 billion a year ago.

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