Fundings of payment-option loans continue to run at a much slower pace at Countrywide Financial Corp., totaling $2.3 billion in May, down from $6.6 billion in May 2006, although overall mortgage fundings rose.Nonprime fundings totaled $2.2 billion in May, down from $3.8 billion a year earlier, and home equity loan fundings stood at $3.4 billion, off from $4.4 billion in May 2006. Overall, Countrywide produced $44.4 billion in mortgage fundings for the month, up from $38.7 billion in May 2006. David Sambol, Countrywide's president and chief executive officer, said home purchase activity rose 17% from that of the previous month, and fixed-rate mortgages accounted for 76% of monthly production, their highest percentage since August 2003. In addition, the company's mortgage pipeline ended the months at $70 billion, its highest level since October 2005, Mr. Sambol said. Countrywide, based in Calabasas, Calif., can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com.

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