Ford Motor's home equity lending unit is shuffling its executive lineup as part of what it calls a new growth plan.

Daniel H. Fowler was named president of Ford Consumer Finance Co., replacing Denny P. Hanysak. Mr. Hanysak was named executive vice president of Associates Commercial Corp., Ford's commercial lending division.

Previously, Mr. Fowler had been president of the specialized branch group of Associates First Capital Corp., Ford Consumer's parent.

Deborah L. Rosen, Robert J. Frye, and Walter N. Carter were named executive vice presidents under Mr. Fowler. The three Ford finance division veterans are to oversee the Southeast-Midwest, Northeast, and West regions, respectively.

The reassignments reflected the home equity lender's commitment to strengthening its broker referral business, said Thomas Slone, executive vice president at Associates First. All four executives newly placed at Ford Consumer have significant experience in the broker referral market, he said.

"We are positioning the company for growth into the 21st century," Mr. Slone said in a statement.

Competition for broker business is tough, said Mr. Fowler, and Ford Consumer is responding with an increased commitment to service.

Putting an emphasis on broker networks is a smart strategy, said Luke Smith, an analyst at Chesapeake Securities. Close relationships with broker correspondents are one way for lenders to keep an eye on loan quality, he said.

Several subprime lenders have stepped up their broker correspondent efforts in recent months, Mr. Smith added, including Mego Mortgage, Atlanta, and Delta Funding Corp., Woodbury, N.Y.

Ford Consumer also plans to step up its bank affiliation business, Mr. Fowler said. Banks that participate will refer customers who don't qualify for traditional home equity loans to Ford Consumer.

The company will also roll out several products this year. A home equity line of credit program will become available this month, Mr. Fowler said. The program should supply cross-selling opportunities with Associates' credit card division.

In addition, Ford Consumer is offering a 30-year amortized mortgage for the first time. The loan is targeted to first-time homebuyers with poor credit, Mr. Fowler said.

Combined loan origination volumes at Ford Consumer Finance and Associates First Capital Corp. put Ford Motor, through its subsidiaries, in the top tier of national subprime mortgage lenders.

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