Lower interest rates made the holiday season merry for Countrywide Credit Industries, the nation's second-largest mortgage lender.

Stanford L. Kurland, senior managing director, said the company's wholesale division had its highest production level since April 1994 thanks to the relatively low interest rates. He added that fundings usually drop off during winter months from the pace earlier in the year.

Volume at the Pasadena, Calif.-based mortgage banking company increased 24% from the level of December 1995. And the company's pipeline, a barometer of future fundings, also grew slightly. The pipeline was $4.5 billion at yearend, compared with $4.4 billion at the end of 1995.

Countrywide originated $3.7 billion of mortgage loans in December. Of that total, $2.4 billion were purchase loans, up from $1.7 billion in December 1995.

The company also continued to post strong year-over-year gains in its home equity and subprime lines. Countrywide funded $67 million of home equity and $80 million of subprime loans in December, compared with $27 million of home equity and $47 million of subprime loans a year earlier.

Countrywide's servicing portfolio at yearend was $155 billion, up 15% from the $134 billion total at the end of 1995.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.