Application volume at Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., surged 33% in January (to $1.78 billion) from that of the previous month, although it was down about 11% from the volume recorded a year earlier, according to the company.The application pipeline increased 16%, to $38 billion, from the total in December, while loan fundings declined to $21 billion, the company reported. Countrywide attributed the funding decline to homebuying seasonality and a short working month of 20 business days. Countrywide's servicing portfolio stood at nearly $658 billion at the end of January, up 40% from $469 billion a year earlier. Countrywide can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com.

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