An index rate is a widely used interest rate that lenders use to set the interest rate on loans and credit cards. For residential mortgages, 10-year U.S. Treasury securities are often used for 30-year fixed-rate loans (on average, most homeowners live in their homes for a period of time closer to 10 years than 30 years). For ARM loans, a common index is the Eleventh District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), published by the San Francisco-based district office of the Federal Home Loan Bank. For credit cards, the U.S. commercial prime rate is frequently used as an index rate.
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