Salomon Smith Barney updated its prepayment model last week to reflect the impact of press coverage and publicity in the wave of refinancings that hit the mortgage market this year.

The "media effect"' kicks in, said Lakhbir Hayre, managing director for mortgage and asset-backed research at Salomon Smith Barney, when mortgage rates hit multiyear lows. The publicity prompts a "turbo-charging" of prepayment speeds because borrowers become more aware of refinancing opportunities and lenders become more competitive.

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