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Thornburg swings $1 billion deal to stave off margin calls

'Super jumbo' lender had predicted record year in 2008

Jumbo lender Thornburg Mortgage said Monday it put up nearly $1 billion in loans as collateral in a deal that allows the company to meet margin calls it's faced during the breakdown in the secondary market for mortgage-backed securities. Thornburg executives -- who less than a month ago announced the company had rebounded from a $1.1 billion third-quarter loss and would originate a record volume of "super jumbo" loans this year -- said they have been hit with nearly $600 million in margin calls since Feb. 14. The Santa Fe, N.M.-based lender said the loans on its books continue to perform well and that the margin calls "are strictly the result of continued deterioration of prices of mortgage-backed securities" in the secondary market. Thornburg executives said Feb. 5 that the company turned a $64.8 million profit in the fourth quarter, and was on track to originate $6.1 billion in loans this year, surpassing a previous record of $5.6 billion set in 20...

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