The strong purchase and refinancing activity in the third quarter pushed thrift originations of one- to four-family loans above the $200 billion mark for the first time, according to the Office of Thrift Supervision.The OTS reported that originations jumped from $198.8 billion in the second quarter to a record $229.9 billion in the third quarter -- a 17% increase. Compared with totals from a year earlier, originations were up 88%. Adjustable-rate mortgages made up only 17% of single-family originations, and thrifts sold $232.5 billion of their loans in the secondary market. Servicing fee income was positive ($148.2 million) for the first time in six quarters thanks in an uptick in mortgage rates. OTS Director James Gilleran praised the strong results. But he urged thrift executives to "manage their portfolios and operations carefully going forward to control expenses and maintain earnings strength in the face of declining mortgage volumes coupled with shrinking net interest margin."

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