For big thrifts, the home mortgage business was a feast last year. This year, it's looking more like a famine.

Rising interest rates boosted the popularity of adjustable-rate mortgages in 1994, providing the thrifts with a rich banquet of the loans that have long been their specialty. But now that rates have swung the other way, thrifts are back on a stringent diet as borrowers opt for fixed- rate loans.

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