Centex Corp. is the latest entrant in the manufactured-home loan market. The Dallas home builder and mortgage originator last week launched Centex Finance Co. and named Mick McGlothlen, a veteran of BankAmerica Corp.'s manufactured-home unit and of Green Tree Financial Corp., to head it.

Centex's move comes at a difficult time for the sector. Green Tree, the industry leader, announced in November that it would take a $150 million charge to cover losses from unexpected loan prepayments. The disclosure by Green Tree, which originated $4.9 billion of manufactured-housing loans in 1996, sent the stock of many subprime finance specialists into a tailspin.

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