"The loose lending that fueled the real-estate boom has given way to underwriters amassing paper trails to justify loans to even the most creditworthy in a process home-loan buyer Fannie Mae (FNMA)'s chief economist calls "the mortgage inquisition." The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts that refinancing may drop 32 percent this year to $583 billion from 2011, even as the Federal Reserve pushes borrowing costs to record lows and President Obama urges steps to remove obstacles for homeowners."

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