David M. Partridge, managing principal at Towers Perrin Consulting Group, expects mortgage origination volume to remain significantly below 1993-94 record levels this year.

"Combined with the downward pressure on earnings from variable-rate mortgages they've offered in the past 24 months - mortgages that can't be repriced as fast as their underlying cost of funds - some thrift institutions will be back in trouble," Mr. Partridge predicts.

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