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E*Trade launches mortgage service

The online broker opens shop at E*Trade Mortgage, the company's latest attempt to diversify its business as a way to survive the economic downturn.

Online broker E*Trade on Monday launched E*Trade Mortgage, the company's latest attempt to diversify its business as a way to survive the economic downturn.

Like other such brokers, which have suffered a slowdown in online trading with the weakening economy, E*Trade has been looking for secure sources of revenue. E*Trade, which primarily makes money by charging customers broker fees, said its new mortgage site is part of ongoing efforts to score new revenue streams and expand its portfolio of services.

E*Trade Mortgage will offer customers help with their home loans by providing an automated, online process for loan applications, lower-than-average rates and fees, rapid deal closings and guaranteed closing costs.

As part of the launch, E*Trade combined technology it had acquired from the purchase of Net mortgage provider LoansDirect. E*Trade acquired closely held LoansDirect earlier this year for an undisclosed amount.