WASHINGTON - The Mortgage Bankers Association has launched its program to demystify the mortgage process, an initiative promised at its annual convention last fall.

Its members will be distributing "A Plain and Simple Guide for First Time Home Buyers: Taking the Mystery Out of Mortgages."

The brochure aims to remove perceived obstacles to applying for a mortgage, including the belief that a 20% down payment is needed and that small blemishes in credit history will disqualify an applicant.

The brochure includes tips on how to have a productive first visit with a loan officer, and a list of sources for help to first-time buyers.

"We want to give people the chance to own their own homes," said Joe Pickett, president of the MBA. Mr. Pickett also said the MBA had designated April as Home Financing Month, and that MBA members would be sponsoring home-buying fairs during the next six months.

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