SAN DIEGO - Mortgage banking companies substantially increased the number of home loans they made last year to people with lower incomes and were the dominant source of purchase loans, according to a new analysis.

The Mortgage Bankers Association at its annual convention here presented the results of its own analysis of data collected by lenders under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Joe K. Pickett, the association's departing president, said mortgage bankers had a market share of about 56% of all purchase loans, but had a 65% market share for purchase loans to African-Americans. Their share of purchase loans to Hispanics was 61.3%, and to Asians, 55.2%.

"The numbers show that we're making progress in our efforts to help more minorities become homeowners," Mr. Pickett said. He added that the number of purchase loans made to African-Americans increased by 32% in 1994; to Hispanics, 24%; and to Asians, 4%. At the same time, all purchase loans climbed by just 1%.

Mr. Pickett also noted that purchase loans by mortgage banks to households with low incomes climbed 56%, while loans to those with very low incomes gained by 20%. Moderate-income loans rose just 9% and middle income 2%, while high-income loans fell 9%.

The MBA announcement said mortgage bankers accounted for 60.4% of all loans to households with very low incomes - defined as those earning less than 50% of median income for their geographic areas.

The analysis also found that the Federal Housing Administration program insured significantly more loans to African-American homebuyers (30% last year) than did the private mortgage insurers (18%).

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