Equicredit Corp. continues to expand.

The Jacksonville, Fla., home equity lender will open eight or nine more retail branches within the next few months, said John T. Hayt, president and chief executive.

It now has about 90 branches.

He also said the Equicredit unit buying loans made to borrowers with lesser credit quality by other lenders and mortgage brokers is thriving. He said the unit continues to sign up new lending partners.

"Business is quite brisk at the moment," he said in an interview.

He hopes Equicredit will buy $125 million of wholesale loans this year.

Equicredit formed the unit in August.

In September, Jacksonville-based Barnett Banks Inc. signed an agreement to purchase Equicredit.

Equicredit principally makes first and second mortgages to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit.

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