The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), which buys and sells mortgages on the secondary market, has decided to start buying biweekly mortgages on Feb. 1, but the popularity of the nontraditional payment plan is still in question.

David O. Maxwell, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer, acknowledged that "it's going to take a while for {the biweekly mortgages} to catch on" with both borrowers and lenders.

Under the biweekly mortgage, borrowers repay their loans every other week instead of making the traditional monthly mortgage payment. Most lenders have not established procedures for such frequent payments, which would total 26 a year.

John M. Teutsch Jr., president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, said he does not think the Fannie Mae purchase of the biweekly loans is "going to be a big deal. People are used to paying their bills on a monthly basis. But you've got a small segment of the population that it will appeal to."

The advantage of the biweekly loans is that the principal is paid off much faster. A conventional 30-year mortgage paid on a biweekly basis would typically be paid off in between 20 and 21 years, with a savings of thousands of dollars in interest payments.

But Teutsch noted, "Most people don't think in terms of the long term. Most think only of living in their home for five or 10 years."

Maxwell said the logistical payment problem at lending institutions could be solved by creating automatic debit checking accounts in which the biweekly payments would be automatically deducted from borrowers' accounts.

He said that Fannie Mae initially will hold the biweekly mortgages in its own portfolio rather than selling them to investors. "Maybe we'll figure out a way to securitize them," he said.

IN THE BUSINESS: Kettler Brothers, the Gaithersburg-based home-building firm, has a new sales gimmick: The firm is giving each 1988 buyer at its developments a year's membership in the Kettler-owner Hidden Valley Premier Resort in Somerset, Pa. The membership in the resort covers unlimited skiing, golf and other recreational activities. "Essentially, a member pays for overnight accommodation, meals and drinks. Most of the rest is on us," said Clarence E. Kettler, president of the company ... Anthony J. Segreti and Thomas F. Tepper are continuing the Smith Segreti Tepper McMahon Harned architectural and planning firm under the name Segreti Tepper Architects ... Nicholas G. Chacos, president of NGC Inc., has been installed as president of Mechanical Contractors D.C. Association ... Westridge in Prince William County sold 313 homes worth $51 million last year, with an average price of $162,939 ... Robert Osborne, president of UBFC, an Oklahoma City-based mortgage banking and loan packaging company, has opened a Washington office ... Gary J. Silversmith, a former vice president of the Patrician Mortgage Co., has formed Silversmith Financial Corp., a mortgage brokerage firm ... The Urban Land Institute, a development industry educational and trade group, has given out six Awards for Excellence, including a rehabilitation award to The Oliver Carr Co. for its restoration and construction of the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel and Office Building Complex ... The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has published a new guide for developers and others called "Controlling Urban Runoff" ... The Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded a $3.9 million housing development grant to the District of Columbia government for rehabilitation of the Washington View Apartments, a 534-unit complex at 2601 Douglas Rd. SE ... The Virginia Department of Commerce is sponsoring four all-day seminars promoting equal opportunity in housing, including one at Fair Oaks in Fairfax County on Feb. 24 ... Mid-Atlantic Cos., a Rockville-based development firm, has started construction on Rosewood Manor, a 48-home development in Gaithersburg.

PERSONNEL FILE... Berkeley M. Shervin Jr., vice president and controller of Wilkes Co., a real estate development and property management firm, has been named a partner of the firm ... Phillip A. Szujewski has joined Perkins & Will as vice president and general manager of the architectural firm's Washington office ... Charles K. Nulsen III has been promoted to vice president for marketing at Centennial Development Corp. while Robert K. Bush has been made vice president for operations, Edward F. Horn vice president for administration and Jeffrey Roberts vice president for tenant operations for Centennial Contractors.