Thrift originations of single-family loans fell 10% in the fourth quarter and borrowings against home equity lines edged up slightly, according to the Office of Thrift Supervision.The OTS reported that thrift originations totaled $164.0 billion in the fourth quarter, down from $181.3 billion in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2004, originations totaled $154.1 billion. Home equity lines of credit grew by only 1.3% in the fourth quarter, to $90.5 billion, as rising short-term interest rates cut demand. The annual rate of growth in HELOC borrowing slowed to 15.7% in the fourth quarter of 2005 at OTS-regulated institutions from 68.3% a year earlier. Despite slowing originations, thrifts posted earnings of $4.34 billion in the fourth quarter and $16.4 billion for the year due to a jump in mortgage servicing fees. The value of mortgage servicing assets rose $1.6 billion in 2005 after declining by $62.9 million in 2004.

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