After a false start last year, KeyCorp is pushing ahead with plans to become a national force in the booming market for home equity loans and subprime mortgages.

The Cleveland-based banking company has hired a veteran home equity executive, James Downing, from NationsCredit Corp., where he was president and chief operating officer for consumer operations. He will be chairman and chief executive of Key Finance Inc., which was formed last year as part of a restructuring.

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