Countrywide Credit Industries Inc., the nation's largest independent home mortgage lender and servicer, said it funded a company-record $7.1 billion of mortgage loans in May, more than twice the year-earlier figure.

Its loan pipeline totaled $14.6 billion at the end of the month, Countrywide said.

Chief operating officer Stanford L. Kurland said retail and broker divisions accounted for 64% of total volume, up from 52% in May 1997.

"A new milestone was also established for purchase mortgages, at $3.3 billion, even though this is predominantly a refinance market," Mr. Kurland said. "Average daily applications and the pipeline of loans in process remained near record levels," he said.

The servicing portfolio grew to nearly $192 billion, from $163 billion in May 1997.

The annualized prepayment rate declined to 25%, in line with expectations, Mr. Kurland said.

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