Marvin Moskowitz is credited with leading Prudential Insurance Company of America's mortgage business through a decade of extraordinary growth. A few weeks ago, he became an observer rather than a leader when Pru sold the last major piece of that still-thriving business.

Mr. Moskowitz took the occasion to warn that some of the newer entrants into the often-volatile business do not understand the risks or opportunities involved.

"They talk about synergy without knowing how to create synergy. They talk about the mortgage as another consumer product when it's not," he said.

Even the established giants don't face an easy task in staying on top, he said. "I have a lot of respect for Countrywide (Credit Industries) and what they've done, especially with no strong parentage," he said. "You have to wonder how long they can continue, especially if some of these banks get their acts together."

An American Banker interview with Mr. Moskowitz appears on page 16.

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