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Countrywide: I'm Not Sure The News Is That Good

After putting the kibosh on rumors yesterday that the company was going under, Countrywide Financial today put out its December operational results, a few days early I might add.

The release begins, “Our fourth quarter ended with a number of positive operational trends,” says President and COO David Sambol. He’s talking about loan fundings, up a bit from November and ahead of forecasts.

What he doesn’t discuss in the wordy part of the press release, but which you can find in the numbers section further down, is that delinquencies and foreclosures are way up from a year ago and the number of loans the company is making is way down.

"Management is pleased with the progress we have made in positioning the company to navigate the current challenging environment," Chief Operating Officer David Sambol said in a statement.

Is that just because they fired a lot of people and stopped making the shoddy loans that fuelled this incredible boom-to-bust? Despite the supposed good news today, that they beat their own expectations, the stock is tanking again. The numbers for the year are just stunning. ARM fundings are half what they were a year ago, home equities down 20 perent, nonprime fundings less than half the numbers a year ago.

We keep talking about a bottom to this housing market, a bottom to prices, a bottom to home builder stocks. I’ll say it here and now, if Countrywide goes under, the bottom may as well be in Hades.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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