On Sept. 1, a new savings bond that pays a fixed return on top of the inflation rate was introduced to the public. The Series I savings bond offers a fixed return of 3 percent to 3.5 percent plus the average rate of inflation over a six-month period. Unlike current savings bonds, which are sold at half of their face value, Series I bonds are sold at face value in denominations of $50, $75, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City processes savings bonds for the entire Eighth District. For more information, call 1-800-333-2919.
Two educational seminars on the new savings bonds will be held Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the St. Louis Fed. There will be a morning and an afternoon session. To register, call Bernie Berns at (314) 444-8321. Seminars in Louisville and Memphis are tentatively planned for next year.
Reports of 1997 mortgage lending activity are available now at central depositories throughout the nation. The reports include disclosure statements covering home purchase and home improvement loans, as well as loan originations, purchases and applications for the nearly 8,000 institutions covered by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).
The 1997 data shows a total of 16.4 million loans and applications, an increase of 11 percent from 1996. This reflects a large degree of refinance activity during the year.
The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has made the data available in various formats, including magnetic tape, PC diskette, CD-ROM and on its web site at www.ffiec.gov. To find out the location of the central depositories or for other questions, call the FFIEC at (202) 634-6526 or check the council's web site.