Home equity lending at commercial banks grew at a 40.2% annual rate in 2004, up from a 33% annual growth rate in 2003.The latest numbers from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. show that borrowings on home equity lines of credit rose from $284.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2003 to $398.9 billion as of year-end 2004. In the fourth quarter, HELs outstanding grew by $23.7 billion, or 6.7%. The fourth-quarter report also shows that commercial bank holdings of one- to four-family mortgages grew by an annual rate of 15.9% in 2004, to $1.48 trillion. And their holdings of mortgage-backed securities grew by a 13.0% annual rate, to $876.4 billion.

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