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LOWEST INTEREST RATES IN 20 YEARS PROMPTS REFINANCE SURGE; COUNTRYWIDE FUNDING OFFERS REFINANCING TIPS

 PASADENA, Calif., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The lowest interest rates in 20 years have launched another refinance surge in the mortgage industry, with Countrywide Funding Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender, receiving 300-400 calls per hour (during peak periods) to its national toll-free consumer line. This volume is about six times the normal rate of 50 to 60 calls per hour. To meet the increasing refinance calls and better serve customers, Countrywide has added staff and expanded office hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT, seven days a week.
 "The refinancing fever of 1992 has struck again in 1993 with new fervor and intensity," said Sidney Lenz, executive vice president of the Consumer Lending Division at Countrywide Funding. "With 30-year fixed-rate conventional loans currently in the 7 percent range and adjustable rate mortgage loans at around 4 percent, now is an ideal time to refinance."
 Countrywide's leap in the volume of refinancing calls indicates a current industry boom. A weekly index of refinancing applications by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America (MBA) shows that refinancing activity nationwide during the week of April 9 (indexed at 1,123) was running more than 11 times higher than normal, which is based on activity as of March 16, 1990 (indexed at 100).
 According to Countrywide, homeowners can easily determine if they are refinancing candidates by examining two basic questions:
 -- "What is the current interest rate on my mortgage loan?"
 Conventional industry wisdom says that interest rates at 2 percent less than a borrower's current rate make refinancing worthwhile. However, in the current environment, homeowners may still benefit if the difference is less than 2 percent -- even a 1/2 percent decrease can make a difference, depending on specific financial circumstances.
 Countrywide makes it simple and easy for consumers to refinance. One product to consider is Countrywide's no-cost refinance loan on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, with no points, closing fees or prepayment penalties. Even if the homeowner refinanced last year, he or she may consider refinancing again if interest rates can still be lowered.
 -- "How long do I plan to live in my present home?"
 As a rule of thumb, those who plan to own their homes for at least three more years should recover refinancing costs. However, everyone's situation is different with various factors involved, so consult with an expert to determine a specific timeline.
 There are many purposes for refinancing, and each homeowner's reasons are unique. Following are various situations:
 -- If the interest rate on a current mortgage is high, refinancing may help lower monthly mortgage payments and thus increase cash flow;
 -- If there is existing equity in the home, refinancing might allow extraction to pay for children's college educations, to pay off existing debts, invest, improve the home or gain a tax advantage;
 -- If the homeowner currently has an adjustable mortgage rate and wants to secure a regular payment for the long term, he or she may want to consider a fixed-rate mortgage;
 -- If rates are low and home equity is high enough, refinancing can shorten the term -- for example, from 30 years to 15 years;
 -- If the homeowner has more than one mortgage and wants to lower monthly payments, he or she might consider refinancing to consolidate first and second mortgage loans.
 Rates change daily, but the latest refinance surge indicates that now is the time to refinance. Homeowners who want to receive current rate quotes or speak with a qualified loan specialist may contact Countrywide at 800-669-5850.
 Countrywide Funding Corp. originates and services single-family home loans. Founded in 1969, Countrywide employs more than 3,200 people at its Pasadena headquarters and in more than 200 offices nationwide.
 -0- 4/19/93 R
 /CONTACT: Catherine Zimring, 818-666-3843, or Janet Otsuki, 818-666-4267, both of Countrywide/


CO: Countrywide Funding Corp. ST: California IN: FIN SU:

JB-KJ -- LAFNS2 -- 9132 04/22/93 07:38 EDT
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Date:Apr 22, 1993
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