In order to round out its mortgage platform, Bear Stearns has started a wholesale division called Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage Corp. and on April 18 plans to roll out a technology interface called BearDirect.net that will provide an online underwriting decision engine for mortgage brokers.The move is part of a larger effort to expand the company's mortgage franchise by capturing origination volume, fixed-income president and co-chief executive officer Warren Spector said in a recent webcast investor presentation. Also adding to Bear's volumes recently has been an expansion of its product guidelines in the conduit area, according to people familiar with Bear's strategy. (For more information, see the April 18 issue of National Mortgage News.)

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