WASHINGTON Freddie Mac said it is expanding an underwriting pilot program that uses alternative ways to assess a borrower's capacity to pay off a home loan.

Six lenders will join PNC Mortgage Corp. in making loans in the pilot project to 3,000 low-income and moderate-income borrowors.

"We think the alternative qualifying method is a valid way of estimating borrower's ability to handle mortgage debt;' Said Michael Stareper, executive vice president of risk management at Freddie Mac, forreally known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

"This is why we want to test the approach further by taking a look at more loans around the country," he said.

The new lenders are Sunbelt National Mortgage of Dallas; Weyerhaeuier Mortgage Co. Of Woodland Hills, Calif.; Household Bank of Prospect Heights, Ill.: Crestar Mortgage Corp. of Richmond, Va.; FBS Mortgage of Minneapolis, and First of America Mortgage Co. of Kalamazoo, Mich.

Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., which helped develop the program, continues to insure the loans.

NEW YORK The National Co-operative Bank is entering the market for mortgages on individual apartments. in New York City and the,surrounding area for the first time.

It will be offering share loans, both for purchases and for refinancings, and is hoping to stimulate homeownership.

Bank officials said many lenders had abandoned the co-op market because of the slump in prices in recent years and remain out of the market now that prices have stabilized.

"We're here to fill that void and provide service and lending expertise to both new co-op buyers who need financing and veteran co-op owners who want to refinance," said Charles Hackman, corporate vice president. The bank had previously only originated underlying mortgages for co-operative corporations.

CHICAGO Amerin Guaranty Corp. has closed a deal to provide bulk mortgage insurance to a package of loans held by Wells Fargo Bank.

This is the first time Amerin. a recent entry into the private mortgage msurance field. has done a so-called "pool" insurance deal. In pool insurance, an insurer |ssues a policy that covers a group of mortgages, usually ones that have already been originated. Under the terms of the deal, Chicago-based Amerin will insure a package of $122 million in mortgages, originated in California and with a mixture of fixed and adjustable rates.

Amerin specializes in "lender-paid" mortgage insurance, in which underwriting power is delegated to a mortgage lender, which then sells the insurance to the borrower.

'|Typically lender-paid mortgage insurance is a 'flow' product even through it is purchased on a wholesale basis," said Stuart Brafman, Amerin's president. "We decided to do this transaction because of our strong relationship with Wells Fargo and our comfort level with the quality of the loans the bank originates."

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