When Ronn Lyttle, chairman of Capstead Mortgage, brought Christopher T. Gilson on board a little over a year ago, he had big plans for his new brand-name executive.

With Mr. Gilson, previously the head of Nationsbanc Mortgage, at the helm of Capstead Inc., a new subsidiary, the company had its eye on creating a big-league mortgage originations franchise. All possibilities were open: wholesale, retail, even buying an existing mortgage bank.

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