In a move that could increase business for mortgage lenders, the Federal National Mortgage Association is advertising directly to consumers.

The huge agency, which buys home mortgages from lenders around the country and repackages them as securities, has previously advertised to lenders, investors, and policymakers.

In a test campaign in North Carolina, Fannie Mae is running television and print ads to spur consumer demand for "reverse mortgages," which are designed for elderly people who want to convert some of their home equity into cash.

Toll-Free Number

Fannie Mae is hoping the campaign will translate into increased business for lenders that sell to the agency, said John Buckley, senior vice president of communications.

Each print ad contains the names and phone numbers of participating lenders. The television ads provide a toll-free number to call.

The ads have been scheduled to run in June and August. Fannie Mae then will consider whether to expand the effort to other products and other regions, Mr. Buckley said.

He declined to disclose the cost of the campaign, which has been created by GSD&M of Austin, Texas.

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