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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CFC Reports A Little Prime Problem

by Tanta on 7/24/2007 08:28:00 AM

This ought to calm the markets:

Management anticipates that the second half of 2007 will be increasingly challenging for the industry and Countrywide. Absent a reduction in mortgage interest rates, production volumes are expected to fall and competitive pricing pressures are expected to increase. In addition, volatility in the secondary markets has increased significantly early in the third quarter and liquidity for mortgage securities has been reduced as a result. These conditions are expected to adversely impact secondary market execution and further pressure gain on sale margins. Furthermore, additional deterioration in the housing market may further impact credit costs.

Management has taken, and is continuing to take, a number of actions in response to changing market conditions. These include tightening of credit guidelines, particularly related to subprime and prime home equity loans; further curtailment of subprime product offerings, including the recent elimination of certain adjustable-rate products; risk-based pricing adjustments; use of mortgage insurance for credit enhancement; and expense reduction initiatives. . . .

Credit-related costs in the second quarter included:

-- Impairment on credit-sensitive retained interests. Impairment charges of $417 million were taken during the quarter on the Company's investments in credit-sensitive retained interests. This included $388 million, or approximately $0.40 in earnings per diluted share based on a normalized tax rate, of impairment on residual securities collateralized by prime home equity loans. The impairment charges on these residuals were attributable to accelerated increases in delinquency levels and increases in the estimates of future defaults and loss severities on the underlying loans.

-- Held-for-investment (HFI) portfolio. The provision for losses on HFI loans incurred in the second quarter was $293 million, driven primarily by a loan loss provision of $181 million on prime home equity HFI loans in the Banking segment.
Guidance hereby reduced to $2.70 to $3.30/diluted EPS from April's $3.50 to $4.30.

I could be snarky about this, but since it's the first thing I've read today that didn't blame the rating agencies for all the problems, I'm giving extra credit.