PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, which buys distressed home loans and is run by several former Countrywide Financial Corp executives, on Wednesday raised $320 million from an initial public offering, $80 million less than planned.

The Calabasas, California-based company sold 16 million shares at $20 each. It had on July 16 projected an offering of 20 million shares at $20 each. The company had also said it hoped to raise $400 million from the offering.

The company plans to operate as a real estate investment trust. Its shares are expected to begin trading on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PMT.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc arranged the IPO.

PennyMac hopes to make money by acquiring delinquent home mortgages from failed banks, often at far below face value, and then restructuring them.

Its business has drawn the attention of critics who have accused PennyMac executives of trying to profit from a national housing crisis they helped create.

At least 11 top officials at the company are alumni of Countrywide, once the largest U.S. mortgage lender, and whose lending practices are widely considered a major cause of the nation's housing crisis.

PennyMac's backers include the asset manager BlackRock Inc and the hedge fund Highfields Capital Management LP.

Its chief executive is Stanford Kurland, who quit Countrywide in September 2006 after 27 years. He was once considered a possible successor as CEO to Angelo Mozilo, who co-founded Countrywide.

Mozilo last year sold Countrywide, which was also based in Calabasas, to Bank of America Corp (BAC.N). The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month sued Mozilo and David Sambol, Kurland's successor, over some of their activities while at Countrywide.

PennyMac executives were not targets of the SEC lawsuit.

(Reporting by Anupreeta Das and Jonathan Stempel; Editing Bernard Orr and Richard Chang)