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Woolwich joint venture for Europe

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  • 01/12/1999
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Global Home Loans, a joint venture between the Woolwich and US-based Countrywide Credit Industries, ...

Global Home Loans, a joint venture between the Woolwich and US-based Countrywide Credit Industries, is gearing up to enter the European mortgage market as the trend towards home ownership gathers pace.

A spokesperson for Woolwich, which is already active in the Italian and French mortgage markets, said: “The UK is a stepping stone for Countrywide into the market and we can see the potential in that market by acting as a third party processor. We are already in the process of transferring a mortgage book into Global Home Loans.”

Global Home Loans was launched in February this year with the aim of providing cost-effective and efficient mortgage processing services to Woolwich and other third parties.

Countrywide, a publicly-held, diversified financial services company specialising in single family home mortgage loans, is the largest independent mortgage lender and servicer in the US. In fiscal 1999 it reported revenues of $2bn, worth $92.9bn in loan originations and a servicing portfolio worth $215.5bn.

David Leobb, former chairman of Countrywide, is aiming for 10% of the domestic market in the US and has wanted to expand into Europe for several years.

Earlier this year Leobb said: “Where we have established a relationship, we take great pains to nurture and expand it where there is anything financially-related. We are against risk-taking. Our business is built through gradual acquisition.”

Countrywide’s low-cost servicing and processing of loans, in many cases offering deals from 0.25%-0.5% lower than its closest competitors, has made the company the envy of the US mortgage industry.

A large part of the firm’s success has been its ability to expand into a number of financial products and services to facilitate its mortgage lending and servicing operations.

Subsidiaries include full-service insurance and title insurance agencies, credit reporting companies, home inspection and warranty services, a securities broker dealer and a mutual fund manager.

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