The nation's commercial banks backed away from collateralized mortgage obligations last year, trimming their holdings by $11.6 billion, or about 8%, as of the end of September.

However, their holdings of home mortgages climbed $43 billion, or 9%. And bank portfolios of mortgage-backed securities rose by $5.5 billion from the level a year earlier, or about 3%, according to data compiled by American Banker.

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