Fleet Mortgage's chief financial officer has left to join Southern Pacific Funding Corp., a subprime home equity lender in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Peter F. Makowiecki became the 10th key executive to leave the Fleet Financial Group subsidiary in less than three years. He joined Southern Pacific on Monday as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Mr. Makowiecki steps into a position vacated by Gary Palmer in January, when Mr. Palmer left to pursue other interests. Bernard Guy, Southern Pacific's executive vice president, has been interim chief financial officer since then.

The steady stream of departures from Fleet Mortgage has attracted considerable industry attention. In January, Fleet Financial appointed vice chairman H. Jay Sarles to the position of chairman of the mortgage company in a move that was expected to stem the flow of executive departures.

Mr. Makowiecki-who served almost 11 years with Fleet, as chief financial officer, senior vice president, and controller-would not comment on his reasons for leaving Fleet. Fleet did not immediately respond to phone calls concerning the departure.

Mr. Makowiecki said that he was attracted to the "active, dynamic, and growing business," at Southern Pacific, which specializes in lending to customers that don't qualify for bank loans.

Southern Pacific is a "very sound organization, that's doing the right things to be a long-term player," he said.

Southern Pacific was impressed by Mr. Makowiecki's knowledge of financial and risk management, chief executive Robert W. Howard said.

Longevity as a subprime lender requires attention to the "three C's,"- capital, control over credit quality, and cost of running the business, he said."People get enamored of the large margins" that the more volatile subprime business offers, he said, and "lose sight of what it costs you to run and originate the business."

Analysts in recent months have called for standardization of accounting principles as a way to value subprime companies accurately.

Southern Pacific originated $790 million of loans last year. The company was spun off from Imperial Credit Industries, Torrance, Calif., in June 1996.

A spokeswoman for Fleet Financial said it is committed to mortgage banking and will devote staff, technology, and infrastructure to keep Fleet Mortgage an industry leader.

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