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E*Trade Invests in E-Loan

Online broker E*Trade Group Inc. Wednesday said it had expanded its investment in E-Loan Inc., a privately-held Internet mortgage company.

The details of the investment were not released.

E*Trade exercised warrants granted to it last year when it signed a three-year agreement with E-Loan, making the service the brokerage's exclusive multi-lender partner.

Christos Cotsakos, E*Trade's chief executive officer and chairman-elect, said the increased investment was due in part to the enthusiastic response the brokerage has seen since first incorporating E-Loan on its site.

"During the past several months, we've been extremely impressed with the E-Loan management team, its business strategy and the company's suite of financial products and services. This has heightened our desire to further leverage our already strong relationship with E-Loan. . .," he said.

Cotsakos said increasing its stake in E-Loan is E*Trade's latest move to establish itself as a leader in online financial services.

The move comes one day after the brokerage announced plans to launch a new investment bank that would give clients expanded service and allow them to get in on initial public offerings.