Fannie Mae's chief financial officer sought to reassure investors that its double-digit portfolio growth would not sputter now that mortgage rates are rising.

Timothy Howard's main point in a conference call Friday with analysts was that the Federal National Mortgage Association does not expect 1996 to be a replay of 1994. That year, an increase of nearly 300 basis points in short-term rates reduced fixed-rate lending to a trickle and bolstered adjustable-rate originations.

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