Independent mortgage lenders eked out a profit of $184 on each loan originated in the second half of 2008, according to a study released Monday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

This small profit was an improvement over net losses in 2006 and 2007, when fierce competition and rising expenses (tied to delinquencies and loan buybacks) forced many lenders to close their doors. No figures were available from the trade group on 2009 activity.

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