Waterfield Mortgage Co. has signed a strategic alliance with Fannie Mae in which the lender will sell virtually all of its conforming loans to the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. The agreement also means that Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Waterfield will be included in testing Desktop Underwriter Improvements and Fannie Mae pilot programs. Waterfield and Fannie Mae will be working on initiatives to combine Waterfield's state-of-the-art paperless processing technologies with Fannie Mae's technology initiatives to better serve customers.

Merrill Lynch & Co. is preparing to enter the 144A private placement market with TCW Group Inc. in the first mortgage collateralized bond obligation linked to a mortgage index, rather than priced from LIBOR.

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