Contifinancial Corp. has acquired a 24% equity stake in Empire Funding Holding Corp.

Contifinancial's parent, Continental Grain Co., has exchanged its 25% warrant in Empire for a 25% equity interest in EFHC, the lender said Friday.

Empire Funding Holding Corp. is the parent of Empire Funding, Austin, a home equity lender specializing in high loan-to-value loans.

The company has originated $1.32 billion such loans in the 11 months ending Nov. 30, 1997.

Empire originates loans through its 18 branch offices nationwide and through 680 correspondents and brokers. Contifinancial said it has an option to acquire additional shares.

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