The Federal National Mortgage Association and Merrill Lynch Credit Corp. are launching a pilot program in October that will allow lenders to access automated underwriting and appraisals for jumbo loans - those above Fannie Mae's maximum of $207,000. The Merrill Lynch & Co. unit will then buy approved loans.

Through Desktop Underwriter and MortgageLinks, two components of Fannie Mae's Mornet network, lenders will be able to receive credit decisions on applications in 30 minutes or less. These jumbos can than be sold to Merrill Lynch Credit.

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