In this morning’s research, Lehman Brothers said banks purchased roughly $100 billion worth of mortgages in February, one of the largest months of purchases historically. The rise is in line with the growth in bank equity and assets, and is probably a one-time event, Lehman said.

Banks had been on the sidelines in December and January. According to the Fed’s weekly survey on assets and liabilities of commercial banks, MBS holdings in the form of securities increased by over $80 billion in February. For the year, MBS holdings have increased by roughly $86 billion.

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