About 40% of borrowers holding home equity lines of credit have not used their line in the past year, according to a recent study by Synergistics Research Corp., Atlanta.Entitled the Home Equity Lending Monitor 2006, the national telephone survey found that seven in 10 of the inactive group do have an outstanding balance, but that the proportion indicating no balance, 20%, is twice that of HELOC holders overall. Only about four in 10 of the inactive holders said they would be more likely to use their line in the next year if they received some incentive, compared with about six in 10 overall, the survey reported. "The size of the inactive [HELOC] holder segment is alarming," said William H. McCracken, chief executive officer of Synergistics. ".... Although it would be most desirable to move these holders back into the 'active sphere,' providers may have to give consideration to the implementation of inactivity or other punitive fees to maintain some level of profitability among these customers." The survey was conducted in July and August of 2006 with 1,200 homeowners age 18 or older. The company can be found online at http://www.synergisticsresearch.com.

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