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Big July for Countrywide

Mortgage fundings jump 48% to $44 billion.
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reported more scorching numbers in its home lending operations Wednesday, saying mortgage fundings rose 48% from a year ago to $44 billion last month.

The Calabasas, Calif.-based firm said adjustable-rate loan fundings rose 37% from a year ago to $23 billion, while purchase volume rose 20% to $21 billion. Countrywide reported average daily mortgage loan application activity of $3 billion in July, up 48% from a year ago.

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Its mortgage loan pipeline was $77 billion at July 31, up 60% from a year ago.

On a consolidated basis, the company said it funded $8.6 billion of so-called pay-option ARM loans and $8.3 billion of interest-only loans in July. The semi-exotic instruments are occasionally cited as evidence of too much risk-tolerance in the real estate market. Nonprime fundings were $3.7 billion in July, down 3% from a year ago.

Countrywide's stock closed at $35.20, midway between its 52-week high of $40.31 and 52-week low of $30.30.