Lincoln Service Mortgage Corp., one of the most active companies in affinity lending, has signed a plum group to a home loan originations contract.

San Antonio Federal Credit Union, the nation's 30th-largest with assets worth $750 million, has chosen the Owensboro, Ky, lender to originate their home loans.

Lincoln is one of several lenders to bet heavily on affinity lending. Although the pace for signing on new trade or professional groups to lending relationships seems to have slowed, mortgage banks are still hot for the deals, now that originations have slowed. "Them is a big rush on right now to sign affinity groups," said Smart A. Feldstein, president of SMR Research Corp., a Budd Lake, N.J., research outfit.

Edward Speed, a senior vice president at San Antonio Federal Credit Union, said some of his institution's 160,000 members have moved far from its branches in San Antonio and Houston. A lending relationship with Lincoln will help service those customers, he said.

For a fixed fee, Lincoln originates loans for San Antonio Federal on a dedicated 800 number. Mr. Speed said that the credit union's executives began considering an affinity lending relationship during the recent refinance boom. It was then that many of their members had come asking for the origination service the credit union could not provide.

San Antonio Federal officials went on fact-finding trips to, among others, executives at United Airlines Credit Union, the nation' s third-largest and a Lincoln client. San Antonio Federal is the second credit union Lincoln has signed in the last five months. It now maintains more than 500 affinity relationships, which yield perhaps $2 billion a year, said Tom J. Handler, Lincoln's vice president of corporate sales and marketing.

But that has not guaranteed Lincoln's success. Last week, it announced that it would be folded into its parent, Great Financial Federal, by yearend.

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