Independent mortgage firms were routed Thursday, with several announcing bad news stemming from the collapse of the U.S. subprime-mortgage market. Among the biggest news, American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. halted operations and Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co., which agreed to be acquired in June, said it might file for bankruptcy protection. "No one wants the product, so if no one wants it, you're not going to originate it," said Vincent Arscott, an analyst at Fitch Ratings. "The only thing that investors are willing to take on are straight prime, plain-vanilla products with no strings attached."

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