The online brokerage, which saw its own share price slide from the $20 range to mere pocket change after taking mortgage-related losses, will apparently begin offering a small range of loan programs via third-party outsourcer PHH Mortgage.
Of course, this time around things will be different because PHH will assume the risk for the mortgages, as they won’t end up on E*Trade’s balance sheet.
An E*Trade spokeswoman told TheStreet.com it chose to begin offering mortgages again because it felt it was an important product offering for a full-scale bank, but some speculate it’s only doing it to be eligible for TARP funds.
The company applied for $800 billion in funds in November, but has yet to hear if its request has been approved.
E*Trade has been in a precarious position for some time now, prompting a marketing campaign aimed at proving its stability by touting the number of new accounts it was opening on a daily basis.