the larger than expected turnout at the Consumer Bankers Association 1995 Home Equity Lending Conference. Attendance at this year's conference was close to 200 - up from about 78 last year. Joe Belew, president of the CBA, said he was pleasantly surprised by the turnout, and expects next year's conference in Denver to be even larger.

* * * During the cocktail hour following Sunday's program, several lenders said a presentation by Yankelovich Partners on the changing profile of home equity borrowers was the most interesting news to date. Paul F. Hammond, director of the Norwalk, Conn.-based consulting firm, said the demographics of American consumers are shifting gradually but fundamentally. American consumers have lost the negativism they showed in the early 1990s, he said, and are beginning to show a can-do spirit again. On the baby boomer-laden home equity lending front, this translates into a desire to plan for the future, shop around for the best rates, and streamline their finances. This has meant an increased interest in simplified home equity loans. "Home equity applications should be as easy as auto loan applications," said Mr. Hammond. "And auto loan applications should be as easy as credit card applications."

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