Lock 'n Shop. Lock Shopper. What's the difference? Not much, except that one of the two residential preapproval pro, grams is supported by a big advertising budget.

Countrywide Credit Industries, Pasadena, Calif., has been promoting its Lock 'n Shop on television nationally.

American Residential Mortgage Corp., La Jolla, Calif., which used to call its own program Lock Shopper, decided not to bump heads with the mighty Countrywide and has changed the name of its program to RateStopper. Though terms differ slightly, both programs let potential homebuyers lock in a rate while shopping for new living quarters.

Now Am Res says its pr9gram, along with another called LockBreaker, has taken wings. Sales of mortgages under RateStopper tripled in the first four months of this year.

Because of the name change? Doubtrid. "Undeniably," says John M.- Robbins Jr., president and chief executive, "this increased interest in lock-in programs is tied in directly to higher interest rates, which have risen from 7% to 8.75% during this period." LockBreaker - under which the rate can be reduced if rates fall before the loan is closed - is also hot, up 150%.

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