Glossary of Terms

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Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

Mortgages in which the loan rate changes during the life of the loan, usually at one-, three-, or five-year intervals. Any changes are governed by the movement of an index, such as Treasury bills, Treasury securities index, or a national or regional average cost of funds index.

Alternative Mortgage

Any home loan that does not conform to a standard fixed-rate mortgage. Such loans can include adjustable-rate, reverse annuity and graduated-payment mortgages.


A payment plan by which the borrower reduces his or her debt gradually through monthly payments of principal.

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