State's Mortgage Lending Flash-Froze by Arctic Blast

By Robinson, Robin | THE JOURNAL RECORD, May 12, 1989 | Go to article overview

State's Mortgage Lending Flash-Froze by Arctic Blast


Robinson, Robin, THE JOURNAL RECORD


mortgage lending by Oklahoma's 39 savings and loan associations, according to statistics released by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka.

Unusual warmth or cold have a great impact on the thrifts' lending activity because it affects the construction industry, which in turn determines how much lending will be done, said Mark McLelland, chief economist for the Topeka bank.

"Right now, you've got a problem with a very low level of activity to begin with, because the economy has slowed down from years past," McLelland said. "And then the problem, especially in our part of country, is that winter activity is highly irregular - some months are quite warm. . .and then there's a cold spell."

Total mortgage loans closed by Oklahoma thrifts during February were $33.9 million, down 44.15 percent from January's $60.7 million and down 37.2 percent from $54 million closed in December 1988. For February 1988, the thrifts closed $35 million in mortgage loans, 3.1 percent more than were closed in February 1989.

February's average temperature in Oklahoma was 33.1 degrees, 7.7 degrees below normal for that month, according to the National Weather Service. January's average temperature was 42.8 degrees, 6.9 degrees above normal, and December's average temperature was 43.9 degrees, 4 degrees above normal.

Oklahoma is part of District 10 of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and the state's savings and loan associations are overseen by the Topeka bank.

The Oklahoma City metropolitan area experienced a greater reduction in mortgage loans closed than the Tulsa metropolitan area, according to the Topeka bank. Oklahoma City had a 57.48 percent drop in mortgage loans closed from January to February, to $5.9 million in February from $12.7 million in January. The city had $11.7 million in mortgage loans closed during December 1988.

Tulsa-based thrifts closed $11.4 million in mortgage loans during February, down almost 25 percent from the same month in 1988, down 28. …

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