Abandoning mortgage servicing wasn't easy for BankAtlantic Bancorp, a lender that had made the business a cornerstone for the last 30 years, the company's chairman said.

"We'd undertaken a yearlong study and found that mortgage servicing no longer represented the opportunity it once had," said Alan B. Levan, chairman and chief executive officer of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., thrift company.

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