In an initiative that could reduce fraud and boost investor confidence in mortgage-related securities, two of the mortgage origination industry's most powerful organizations are developing a plan to register the unwieldy network of 30,000 U.S. mortgage brokerage companies and roughly 500,000 individual mortgage bankers and brokers.

A national registry would make it easier for the industry to track the performance of an industry that has thus far eluded federal regulation. Mortgage brokerage companies and their employees are considered to be the major source of origination-related fraud, which costs mortgage lenders, consumers and investors billions of dollars a year. The situation has been exacerbated by the success of mortgage brokerages, which have seen their share of mortgage originations skyrocket to about 70% currently from about 20% in 1987.

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