Fannie Mae has simplified the way it classifies adjustable-rate mortgage securities, a move it hopes will make its loans more competitive.

Beginning this month, Fannie Mae, formally the Federal National Mortgage Association, has cut by more than 50% the number of its "subtypes" for securities backed by adjustable-rate loans. Subtypes are loans that can be secured together because they share certain crucial characteristics, such as the rate cap or the index to which the loan is tied.

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