Magazine article American Banker

Countrywide and Credit Card Company Join Forces to Market Loans

Magazine article American Banker

Countrywide and Credit Card Company Join Forces to Market Loans

Article excerpt

By MARC HOCHSTEIN In the latest twist on cross-selling, home-loan leader Countrywide Credit Industries is teaming up with credit card specialist Metris Cos. to market mortgages to Metris customers.

Beginning in February, Metris will begin marketing Countrywide products to its customers through statement stuffers and other direct mail solicitations, and perhaps telemarketing. Countrywide will pay Metris a fee for the use of its customer data base, which it inherited from its former parent, Fingerhut Cos.

Ronald N. Zebeck, chief executive officer of Metris, St. Louis Park, Minn., said many of its customers have inquired about first mortgages and home equity loans.

Aside from the fee, Metris said it believes the partnership will mitigate the attrition that results when cardholders refinance their balances into home equity loans.

"If there is any situation with someone trying to come down and cannibalize our balances, we'd rather have them cannibalized (by) a partner that we get a good relationship with," Mr. Zebeck said.

There are no plans for Metris to court Countrywide's customers, though Mr. Zebeck said he hopes Metris eventually will gain access to those borrowers. Since January 1997, Countrywide has had an exclusive arrangement with First USA Inc., whereby the Dallas credit card specialist offers cards to Countrywide customers.

Countrywide views the Metris partnership as a way to boost mortgage volume, particularly for Full Spectrum Lending, the Calabasas, Calif. …

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