Mortgage Applications Plummet 20.7%

WASHINGTON - Mortgage loan applications were down 20.7% from a year earlier in the week that ended March 31, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.They were also down 7.3% from the previous week.

The MBA's seasonally adjusted purchase index fell from 312.2 the week before, to 293.5.

The seasonally adjusted refinance index fell 386.6, to 340.6, and refinancing represented 15.1% of applications, off from the previous week's 15.9%.

Adjustable rate mortgage activity fell 24.6%, from 26%.


L.A. Adds Web Database to Bond Service

LOS ANGELES - Capital Management Sciences Inc. has set up an online mortgage-backed-security database, which it will add to BondEdge, its Windows-based bond evaluation program.The subsidiary of Jackson, Wyo.-based Data Broadcasting Corp. said the database will enable institutional investors to make more-informed decisions by providing much more information about mortgage securities and the loan pools behind them.

The database covers more than one million fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgage pools and collateralized mortgage obligation tranches, Capital Management Services said.


GMAC Green-Lights $51M Manhattan Loan

HORSHAM, Pa. - GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., a unit of General Motors, said it arranged a $51 million floating-rate loan for the acquisition of a New York city retail and office building.The 85,900-square-foot building, at 1 East 57th St., is home to Time Warner's flagship Warner Bros. Studio store. The borrower is 57th Street Acquisition Company LLC, a joint venture between Ken Natori and Allied Partners.


Greenwich Capital Funds $57M Ga. Project

GREENWICH, Conn. - Greenwich Capital markets originated a $57 million floating-rate loan secured by Northlake Office Park in Atlanta.The loan has a three-year term. Northlake consists of 14 buildings with 908,000 square feet. The office park was 82.5% leased when the loan closed; new leases have brought that figure up to 93%. The borrower is Flatbrick Atlanta LLC, a special-purpose company controlled by the partners of New York-based Brickman Associates.


For $50 a Year, Small Brokers Get a Web Site

DENVER - Lioninc.com said Wednesday that it will provide domain names and Web sites to mortgage brokers for almost nothing.The Lion Inc. subsidiary will set up tailored Web sites for brokers using its back-end technology; moreover, it will charge only an annual $50 maintenance fee.

The service illustrates what several critics of the online mortgage industry have cautioned - that there are few barriers to entering the business. By building a Web site, critics argue, little separates the large services such as E-Loan and LendingTree from a local broker, which can all battle for the same Internet traffic.


Sutro Analyst Moves to CS First Boston

SAN FRANCISCO - Equity analyst Arthur K. Bender has moved to Credit Suisse First Boston from Sutro & Co.Mr. Bender, 30, covers electronic commerce companies and reports to James M. Marks, an influential Internet analyst. Mr. Marks returned to First Boston last October after a 14-month stint at Deutsche Bank's securities unit.

Mr. Marks and Mr. Bender work at First Boston's San Francisco office. Mr. Bender covered mortgage and financial services stocks for Sutro for five years. Before that he was a research analyst at SNL Securities in Charlottesville, Va.

- Marc Hochstein

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