Marathon Asset Management, New York, which had considered investing in the struggling Mortgage Lenders Network USA, has pulled out of talks with the company, according to one MLN source.Marathon, an asset management company, was believed to be the one investor mentioned in company e-mail messages sent by chief executive Mitch Heffernan -- but not identified -- as being the firm's financial savior. A former official in MLN's servicing unit said the company has now commenced cuts in that division as well. He said remaining employees now believe that the lender will file for bankruptcy protection. Marathon did not return a telephone call about the matter. MLN had not commented at deadline time. Last week the nondepository laid off 180 employees that worked in its retail division in Middletown, Conn. Two weeks ago, MLN cut loose 832 people who had been on furlough. (For the full story, see the Jan. 29 issue of National Mortgage News.) MLN can be found on the Web at http://www.mlnapproves.com.

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