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The Briefing – THE BOSS’ MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

The Briefing – THE BOSS’ MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Countrywide Credit Industries is reaping the benefits of the current and continuing refinancing boom. With low interest rates and more customers, the company’s 2001 net income jumped 18.5 percent over the previous year. Thus, Countrywide President Stanford L. Kurland faced the tough challenge of managing a company growing and diversifying quickly. Over the last four years, Kurland has pursued a diversification program that has moved the company into new markets, making it less vulnerable to interest rate changes. Kurland discussed these and other challenges with Business Journal reporter Carlos Martinez. “Countrywide’s challenge is to emerge from the 2001 refinance boom, avoiding any adverse effects experienced during the 1998 (refinance) boom. Our goal was to demonstrate Countrywide’s ability to sustain earnings growth in a post-finance environment. “In recent years, we have initiated a strategy that anticipates, moderates and offsets the cyclical throes of our core mortgage business. Countrywide is positioned to provide greater earnings stability through various interest rate environments. “These initiatives including banking, insurance, capital markets and global ventures accounted for 22 percent of our pre-tax earnings last year and are poised to meet our goal of 50 percent of earnings by 2006. As Countrywide continues to evolve, the mortgage-centric businesses are positioned to perform more strongly and steadily this year than they have in previous post-boom periods. “Housing is leading the nation’s economic recovery and the traditional peak season for home sales is just beginning. This could be a record year for home purchases and all Countrywide production divisions have well-developed plans for increasing market share. “As more consumers adopted the Web as the preferred sales channel, Countrywide learned many critical lessons. Countrywide has worked diligently to simplify the loan application process over the Web (and) the response to these efforts is evident in the tremendous growth within Countrywide’s e-commerce sector. “Currently, e-commerce fundings represent nearly 50 percent of Countrywide’s total loan fundings.”

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