The Atlanta Mortgage Consortium-which set an example for inner-city lending programs in many cities-has decided to cease operations immediately.

The Atlanta home market has "outgrown the need for the consortium's incubator effect," said AMC president Ken Woods. Area banks, he said, have developed and marketed their own versions of AMC's product: below-market- rate loans marketed toward families in the Atlanta area with low to moderate income.

The Atlanta coalition of nine local mortgage lenders was formed in 1988 after a newspaper expose of Atlanta banks' poor record of lending to minorities. The coalition has provided $95 million in mortgages to over 1,800 families.

The group served as a precursor to many bank partnerships geared toward increasing lending in inner cities. Two years after its inception, the Atlanta Consortium watched delinquencies and losses in its pool of loans spike up, signaling to many banks the dangers of rushing into affordable home lending.

"We've been down a long road over the past nine years," said Chuck Shields, executive director of the program. "AMC was a pioneering effort that changed not only the Atlanta lending market, but also the national lending market."

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