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Here’s Freddie Mac’s basic forecast for the next seven months: moderate economic growth, gradually rising interest rates, steady employment growth, a cooling housing market and a $400 billion plunge in mortgage originations compared to last year. Which means, like the financial industry’s mega-lenders, the nation’s credit unions will be under mounting pressure to adjust their game plans and draw up a few new plays for squeezing that last dollar of revenue from their mortgage operations in 2006.

In short, the good times of the past four years-with record low interest rates, falling delinquency rates and fast rising home values-are not destined to last, the economic performance of the first quarter of 2006 notwithstanding.

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