Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., has announced its expansion into the commercial mortgage market with the formation of Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance Inc., a subsidiary of Countrywide Capital Markets Inc.Countrywide said it has hired principals from Coastal Capital Partners LLC, Sausalito, Calif. -- Stewart Ward, Boyd Fellows, Chris Tokarski, and Warren de Haan -- as executive vice presidents of the new commercial lending unit, as well as seven others from Coastal Capital. The new unit will be based in Calabasas, with a sales office in Sausalito, and Countrywide said it expects to establish additional offices in New York and Chicago. In other company news, Countrywide announced an addition and several promotions in its banking and insurance groups: Carlos Garcia was promoted to executive managing director of banking and insurance operations; Andrew Gissinger III was promoted to senior managing director and chief executive officer of the banking and insurance group; James S. Furash was promoted to senior managing director; and Robert V. James was hired as president and chief operating officer of Balboa Life & Casualty Group of Insurers. The company can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com.

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