New Century Financial Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The filing puts to an end weeks of market speculation as to when the top-three subprime lender -- which has been running on fumes for some time -- would assent to bankruptcy.

The CIT Group and Greenwich Capital Financial Products agreed to provide New Century with as much as $150 million in debtor-in-possession financing, subject to court approval. New Century is allowed $50 million at the close of the agreement.

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