Katrina Blecher loves her job.

As an analyst with Gruntal Securities, for five years she has been covering finance companies that specialize in home loans.

The field is "fascinating, underfollowed, and rapidly growing," she said. "There's no such thing as a plain vanilla home equity company."

Home equity lending is expected to grow in excess of 20% for the next five years, Mr. Blecher said.

Most recently, she added coverage of Money Store, Sacramento, Calif.; United Companies Financial Corp., Baton Rouge; and Southern Pacific Funding Corp., Lake Oswego, Ore., to her corral of lenders. All three were given positive ratings, with United and Southern Pacific ranking a "strong buy."

Consolidation is the next big trend in the industry, she noted in a recent report, "Consolidations, Valuations, Confusion, and the Law: Four Reasons to Own Home Equity Loan Companies."

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