Economists for the Mortgage Bankers Association were the bearers of bad news at the MBA's annual convention in Boston recently, as they predicted a cyclical downturn in the U.S. mortgage market through the fourth quarter 2000, despite an overall optimistic outlook for the economy as a whole.

"Please don't blame the messenger for the message," said David Lereah, chief economist at the MBA, as he prepared the audience of mortgage bankers, lenders and servicers for the grim news he was about to present.

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