Mortgage bankers are pitching red-hot adjustable-rate mortgages to portfolio lenders.

"Thrifts are always looking to put assets on the books," said Ann Pennywitt, vice president in charge of secondary marketing for ARCS Mortgage Corp., Calabasas, Calif.

"They're doing a lot of origination themselves, but they always have a big appetite," she said.

One-Two Punch

The resurgence of ARMs as the home loan of choice has dealt a one-two punch to mortgage bankers, who have been forced to originate variable-rate mortgages in direct competition with thrifts, and look for buyers on the secondary market.

"It was really a nonevent until the thrifts started offering these loans," said Ms. Pennywitt.

But thrifts have become finnicky eaters in this ARMs-oriented market.

Bill Halapin, a senior vice president at Downey Savings and Loan, Newport Beach, Calif., said his thrift had received numerous calls from mortgage bankers wanting to shed their ARM loans.

"I've heard from friends I haven't heard from in years," he said.

Thrifts Not Buying Surplus

Downey's originations have risen at a comfortable clip, however, and Mr. Halapin said his thrift has no plans to buy ARMs in the near future.

Washington Mutual Savings, Seattle, is in the same boat.

Peter Struck, Mutual's vice president in charge of secondary marketing, said his bank's "overall loan demand is pretty good" and he hasn't been in the market for surplus ARMs.

"It's not our strategy to seek that product out at this point," Mr. Struck said. "Instead of going out there and buying product from someone else, we'd rather stay closer to home."

Some mortgage bankers are having an easier time finding buyers for their ARMs.

"I'm buying and selling them," said Robert Hedley, executive vice president of Union Financial Corp., McLean, Va.

And Union Financial, a subsidiary of Union Bank in San Francisco, sells its popular six-month ARM, pegged to the London interbank offered rate, to its parent bank.

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