SPRING HOUSE, Pa. — Advanta Corp. announced Monday that negotiations to sell its mortgage business are proceeding and that it still expects its tentative deal with a “major financial institution” to close in early 2001.

The embattled Advanta said on Oct. 24 that an unnamed company would pay more than $1 billion in cash for the mortgage unit, which accounts for one-third of $3.3 billion-asset Advanta’s business. At the time, it said it expected to reach a definitive agreement within 30 days and close the deal early next year.

The sale, which requires shareholder approval, would allow Advanta to focus on its small-business credit card business.

The company has had trouble with regulators and lost money this year because of its mortgage business. In a settlement with banking regulators in early August, it agreed to write off $214 million of retained interest in mortgage securitizations; that led to a $192.7 million loss in the second quarter.

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