The Mortgage Bankers Association of America has appointed Douglas G. Duncan to the position of staff vice president/chief economist. Duncan, who has been with the organization since 1992, replaced David Lereah, who is now the head of the MBA's new subsidiary, Lender Technologies Inc. Duncan will be responsible for providing economic and policy analyses for the MBA and its members.

To fend off attacks, Fannie Mae has hired the help of a former Senate Banking Committee chairman. Alfonse D'Amato is a partner at New York-based Park Strategies, the agency Fannie Mae hired to provide advice on attacks from various watchdog groups and Congress.

Norwest Mortgage, Inc. has changed its name to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. to reflect the 1998 merger of the two companies. All 1,100 locations have converted to the new name. The company is one of the largest lenders to ethnic minority homebuyers in the country.

Heigl Mortgage has changed its name to ABN AMRO Mortgage to reflect the name of its parent company, ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, Inc. The change was announced April 2. ABN AMRO Mortgage hopes to take advantage of its parent's technologies to reduce the costs of mortgage products. ABN AMRO Mortgage was ranked seventh nationally in 1999 in mortgage loan originations.

Criimi Mae Inc., the commercial mortgage real estate investment trust attempting to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reported a net loss of $132.4 million, or $2.45 per basic and diluted share for the year ending Dec. 31, 1999 under generally accepted accounting principles. The loss reflects the $157 million sale of a portion of the company's commercial mortgage-backed securities portfolio.

First Chicago Capital Corp. is planning to sell $310 million in bonds backed by a variety of collateral. The securities, in a collateralized-bond obligation structure, will be backed by about $100 million in junk-rated CMBS, $100 million in RMBS, and $100 million in real estate investment trust debt. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., and Goldman, Sachs & Co. will handle the sale, expected to take place in two weeks.

Advanta Conduit Receivables, Inc. priced a $400 million revolving home equity securitization last week. The deal is backed by a single class of floating rate notes, and will be at Libor-plus 25. The transaction, with Bear, Stearns & Co. serving as the lead underwriter will close April 27. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Prudential Securities Corp. and Salomon Smith Barney were co-managers of the deal.

The race for Korea's first mortgage-backed security issuance is over, sort of. Two issues are currently arguing over who gets the title of first MBS in the country. The Korean Mortgage Corp. (Komoco) says it closed first, while NewState Capital is saying it closed two weeks earlier. Either way, the W2 trillion ($1.8 billion) Komoco deal is said to have more impact than the W58.9 billion NewState deal.

Two regulatory changes are helping boost India's development of a securitization market, particularly a MBS market. Major changes to foreclosure laws have been enacted, where it used to take as long as 10 years to take possession of property whose borrower defaulted. The other change gives mutual funds the allowance to invest in MBS with an investment grade credit rating. The launch of the country's first MBS is scheduled for June.

The first domestic, public Japanese MBS priced last week. The transaction, originated by Fuji Bank and arranged by Fuji Securities, was split into six triple-A rated senior tranches and a subordinated tranche rated A2.

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