Even as the Federal Open Markets Committee raised interest rates 50 basis points Tuesday, some mortgage executives were saying that other concerns have displaced rates on their worry lists.
Rising rates over the last year have eliminated the incentive for most homeowners to refinance their loans, wiping out a big piece of the origination market. Many lenders were forced to lay off employees, sell to bigger companies, or close. Now these lenders are beginning to worry about their remaining stronghold - the home purchase market - which has held up well as refinancing dwindled. If they are worried about the Federal Reserve's action, it is not because rates are higher, they say, but because of the implications for consumer confidence.