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Countrywide to set up UK lender

Countrywide Home Loans, the largest independent originator of mortgages in the US, is planning to launch a sub-prime lender in the UK.

A source at the US-based lender tells Mortgage Strategy: “We&#39re definitely launching into the UK and we&#39re definitely launching into the sub-prime market.”

Loans will be funded through warehouse lines and then securitised with products being distributed through intermediaries – although Mortgage Strategy understands that the prospect of the company operating a direct to consumer arm has yet to be ruled out.

Although no name has been decided upon for the new venture, a highprofile head-hunting agency has been appointed to recruit a senior management team, including a chief executive.

Countrywide already has a stake in the UK mortgage market with Global Home Loans and plans to use the Dartford-based third-party loan administration company to service loans written by the sub-prime lender.

Mortgage Strategy also understands that acquisition is no longer an option for Countrywide, which looked at the UK sub-prime market three years ago.

In 2001 the US lender took a keen interest in Mortgages PLC when it was for sale but then passed on the deal.

A GMAC-RFC executive says: “We&#39ve been assuming for awhile that they would show up here. They tend to follow our strategy. One more competitor will not bother us – Countrywide thinks like us and will price rationally.”

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