The housing recovery is still a long way off, a panel of mortgage industry executives agreed at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention in Boston."The overall picture is not a great one," Patti Cook, chief business officer at Freddie Mac, told a ballroom packed with anxious conference attendees. Paul Bibb of National City Mortgage didn't do much to ease the industry's anxiety, either, noting that while some markets are okay, others "are train wrecks." These are places where price corrections could be quite severe, and it may take until 2010 to return to normal, Mr. Bibb said. David Lowman of Chase agreed. Because "fearful" homebuyers are staying away in droves, it will "easily be into '09 and maybe even '10" before the market begins to turn around, Mr. Lowman said. "I think we're in for quite a ride." To weather the storm, the Chase official said his company is returning to sound underwriting fundamentals in all its origination channels and doing everything else it can to draw investors back into the fold. National City, on the other hand, is redirecting its lending around agency products. "If it's not saleable," Mr. Bibb told the session, "we don't want to originate it right now."

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