CALABASAS, Calif. - Countrywide Credit Industries has hired an investment bank to help it find a buyer, CNBC reported Wednesday.

Citing "sources close to the company," the television news channel said the nation's largest independent mortgage bank has hired Goldman Sachs "to line up potential buyers."

After years of steadfastly rejecting the idea of a sale, Countrywide co-founder and chairman Angelo R. Mozilo had softened that stance in recent months.

In an interview with American Banker in May, he indicated for the first time that he would not rule out selling the company.

"I am a big shareholder myself, aligned with the interests of shareholders, and I'm obliged to seek the greatest possible return for them," he said at the time.

Phone calls to Countrywide and Goldman were not returned by press time. Countrywide shares hit a high of $37.50 Wednesday and closed at $34.0625, up 6.45% from Tuesday's close.

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