Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority borrowers in need of converting auction-rate bonds into variable- or fixed-rate modes now have faster access to the market, as the agency last week implemented new approval policies and authorized refinancing of nearly $600 million of auction-rate debt.

The policy change is in response to recent auction-rate failures where issuers are forced to pay higher interest rates as investors have shied away in the past three weeks from buying auction-rate securities and broker-dealers do not have enough liquidity to buy the securities. Historically, when the supply of auction-rate securities outweighs demand, bankers would purchase the unsold debt.

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