Home Values Rose More Than 6% Last Year

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Home values in the United States increased more than 6% in 1999, according to First American Real Estate Solutions, a real estate information company.Los Angeles saw the biggest increase among 35 metropolitan areas studied by First American, rising almost 14%.

Though the increase in home values in 1999 did not match that of 1998, appreciation in home values outpaced inflation, helping homeowners to build equity, First American said.

First Tennessee Unit Takes a New Name

DALLAS - FT Mortgage Cos., a unit of First Tennessee National Corp., is changing its name to First Horizon Home Loans, effective today.The name change is part of the company's strategy to build a national brand. Since the mid-1990s, FT Mortgage has been buying small mortgage companies nationwide and letting them keep their names - and a great deal of autonomy.

Over the next several months, the various subsidiaries - including Sunbelt National Mortgage, Carl I. Brown Mortgages, Atlantic Coast Mortgage, and MNC Mortgage - will adopt the First Horizon name. First Tennessee has adopted the new brand for other national business lines.

Freddie's Chief Financial Officer Resigns

McLEAN, Va. - Freddie Mac said its chief financial officer, John P. Gibbons, has resigned effective at the end of March.In a statement, the secondary marketing giant said Mr. Gibbons is leaving "to explore opportunities in the technology [industry] and other industries." Vaughn Clarke, a senior vice president, will serve as CFO while the company looks for a successor.

BNC Mortgage Issues Earnings Warning

IRVINE, Calif. - BNC Mortgage warned that its results for this quarter, which ends March 31, will be below analysts' expectations.The subprime lender expects to earn between $171,000 and $256,000, or two to five cents per share. The average of estimates from the three Wall Street firms that cover BNC was $1.077 million, or 21 cents per share.

BNC earned $642,000, or 12 cents per share, in the same period last year. The company cited lower prices paid for its loans in the secondary market - the upshot of rising interest rates, competitive pressures, and a limited number of buyers for subprime loans. If these trends continue, the company said, its results for its fiscal year, which ends June 30, may also be adversely affected.

BNC shareholders are weighing two buyout offers - one from a management-led group, the other from Greenlight Capital of New York.

Fannie Mae Promotes Regional Executive

WASHINGTON - Fannie Mae has promoted Howard Nelson to vice president of its single-family business.Mr. Nelson is responsible for managing initiatives in new markets, including manufactured-housing lending. He has been a director of product development since 1998.

Previously Mr. Nelson was an assistant vice president in Fannie's regional office for the Northeast in Philadelphia. He joined Fannie in 1987 from Coopers & Lybrand.

Mers System Gains GMAC Unit's Backing

McLEAN, Va. - Mers Inc. said GMAC-Residential Funding Corp., a unit of General Motors, will securitize loans that have been registered on the Mers system. Because GMAC-RFC is the largest issuer of non-agency mortgage-backed securities, its seal of approval is a significant step forward for Mers, a Mers spokeswoman said.The system tracks ownership of loans and servicing rights electronically. Mers is owned by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the American Land and Title Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and major lenders.

N.Y. E-Lender Acquires Mortgage Bank

MELVILLE, N.Y. - AppOnline.com, an Internet mortgage company, said it had acquired Cornerstone First Financial Inc., a mortgage bank based in Crompton, Md.Terms were not disclosed. Cornerstone First originated $120 million of mortgages last year.

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