The Federal Home Loan banks of Chicago and Dallas said Thursday that they have taken the first step in a planned nationwide expansion of a controversial pilot program by purchasing $83 million of mortgages from Bank United Corp., Houston.

The pilot program, started by the Chicago bank, is known as Mortgage Partnership Finance. The Federal Housing Finance Board, which regulates the 12 regional Home Loan banks, expanded the program last week. Its goal is to give lenders an alternative to selling mortgages in the secondary market.

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