) were lower following a negative report on the company in Barron's. Meantime, DB Alex Brown reiterated its strong buy rating on the consumer lender.
Analyst Mark Alpert argues the article bashed the company on accounting issues, most of which were inaccurate and aired before. Alpert added the bulk of the report aimed at "other unsecured loan" category, which is 18% of total loans, over 1/2 of which is home equity loans underwritten as if they are unsecured. The report also refers to policy change in 1996 that added 3-6 months to recognition of delinquencies, while Alpert sees no impact on 2000, 2001. He adds the report said average "other unsecured loan" size is $70,000, while Alpert says that figure is $15,000. The managers are scheduled to speak at a NYC conference on Tuesday and openly address the issues.