Use of private mortgage insurance climbs in 2007

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Despite all the negative publicity about the so-called "mortgage meltdown" with more than 100 major mortgage lenders either filing bankruptcy or being unable to fund their home loan commitments, low- and no-down-payment PMI (private mortgage insurance) mortgages are readily available if you have steady income and good credit. According to the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, a trade group, the use of PMI is up 40 percent during the first half of 2007 from the same period in 2006. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. WHAT IS PMI? Most home buyers have heard of government-sponsored VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) and FHA (Federal Housing Administration) low-down-payment home loans. But they aren't suitable for many home buyers, especially if you are not a veteran or home prices are too high in your city. If you want to buy a house or condominium but can't obtain a VA or FHA mortgage and are "cash challenged" with only a small down payment, PMI lenders loan 9...