Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Countrywide to Norwest Mortgage: Don't Look over Your Shoulder

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Countrywide to Norwest Mortgage: Don't Look over Your Shoulder

Article excerpt

Countrywide Credit Industries, Inc., spent a long period at the top of the mortgage banking heap, to be overtaken recently by Norwest Mortgage.

There are still some areas where Countrywide bests the bank-owned Norwest--Countrywide leads the field in correspondent lending, for example.

However, "the bottom line is we're number two now--but it's a long race," said Angelo Mozilo, vice-chairman of the parent and also chairman and CEO of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., both based in Pasadena, Calif. Mozilo and other Countrywide officials discussed the mega-lender's strategy during a recent press conference.

One avenue that mortgage banking institutions have taken to bulk up is to acquire other mortgage banks. This is a tactic that Countrywide has resisted in the past ("Mortgage Machine," ABA BJ, Oct. 1995, p. 56) but that has become more attractive as the business transforms itself, through consolidation, into an industry of larger players from a business consisting of many smaller players, none dominating the share of market.

Mozilo said that Countrywide has looked at several deals but thus far not found them appealing enough. "Every deal we've looked at," he said, "was prohibitive at the price they wanted. So we have not come across anything that makes sense yet. …

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