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  • FHFA announces new Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security

    Federal Issues

    On March 28, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) announced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will issue a new security, the Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (UMBS), on June 3, 2019. The UMBS will replace all current offerings of mortgage-backed securities that occur in the to-be-announced (TBA) forward market. According to the announcement, the new UMBS will be issued using the Common Securitization Platform (CSP) through the Enterprises’ joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions (CSS). See previous InfoBytes coverage here

    Federal Issues FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac MBS

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  • FHFA proposes changes to the Affordable Housing Program requirements

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance

    On March 6, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a proposed rule to modify the Federal Home Loan Banks’ (FHLBanks) Affordable Housing Program (AHP). Under the Federal Home Loan Bank Act, FHLBanks are required to establish an AHP that provides subsidies to low-income consumers to purchase a home; for long-term, low- and moderate-income rental housing; and for the purchase, construction or rehabilitation of qualifying rental housing. According to the FHFA, the proposed amendments are intended to assist FHLBanks in better aligning their AHP funds with the affordable housing needs of their districts. Among other things, the proposed amendments would (i) provide FHLBanks additional authority to allocate their AHP funds; (ii) authorize FHLBanks to establish “special competitive funds” for specific district needs; (iii) allow FHLBanks to create their own project selection criteria; and (iv) align the AHP project monitoring requirements with other federal funding programs. Comments on the proposed rule will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Servicing Guide FHFA Federal Register

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  • FHFA extends deadline to March 30 for credit score input

    Federal Issues

    On February 2, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it is extending the deadline for input on how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) should update their current credit score requirements. Interested parties now have until March 30 to respond to the 22 questions outlined in the Request for Input (RFI) issued by FHFA on December 20, 2017. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the RFI sought input on four options for replacement of the Classic FICO credit score model currently used by the GSEs. The four options include (i) requiring the use of either the FICO 9 credit score model or the VantageScore 3.0 credit score model; (ii) requiring the use of both the FICO 9 and the VantageScore 3.0 credit score models; (iii) allowing lenders to choose between either the FICO 9 or the VantageScore 3.0 credit score models; or (iv) allowing lenders to deliver multiple scores through a waterfall approach that would establish a primary and a secondary score.

    Federal Issues Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Credit Scores FHFA RFI

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  • Special Inspector General for TARP highlights MHA threat

    Federal Issues

    On January 30, the Office of the Special Inspector General (SIG) for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) delivered a report to Congress, which identified unlawful conduct by certain of the 130 financial institutions in TARP’s Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) as the top threat to TARP and, thus, the SIG’s top investigative priority. The SIG explained that “significant oversight [of MHA] is required because of the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse” that occurs by participants. Indeed, the report highlights specific instances of mismanagement of MHA by a select number of large financial institutions. Close to one million homeowners still participate in MHA initiatives. Accordingly, the risk of unlawful conduct by financial institutions in this area can destabilize the market and jeopardize other participants in MHA such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHFA, and the VA.

    Federal Issues TARP Mortgages MHA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac FHFA Department of Veterans Affairs

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  • FHFA Requests Input on GSE Credit Score Requirements; Releases 2018 Scorecard

    Federal Issues

    On December 20, the Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA) announced a Request for Input (RFI) seeking feedback from interested parties regarding how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) should update their current credit score requirements. Specifically, the GSEs plan to stop using the Classic FICO credit score model and to replace it with one of four options. These options include (i) requiring the use of either the FICO 9 credit score model or the VantageScore 3.0 credit score model; (ii) requiring the use of both the FICO 9 and the VantageScore 3.0 credit score models; (iii) allowing lenders to choose between either the FICO 9 or the VantageScore 3.0 credit score models; or (iv) allowing lenders to deliver multiple scores through a waterfall approach that would establish a primary and a secondary score. The FHFA’s RFI asks interested parties to provide feedback on these options by responding to 22 questions outlined in the RFI by February 20.

    On December 21, FHFA released the 2018 Scorecard outlining specific conservatorship priorities for the GSEs and their joint venture, Common Securitization Solutions, LLC (CSS). The 2018 Scorecard continues to identify many of the priorities outlined in the 2017 Scorecard. In addition, the 2018 Scorecard highlights the FHFA’s focus on gathering information to support its assessment of single-family rental strategies and extends the timeline for implementation of the Single Security Initiative on the Common Securitization Platform to the second quarter of 2019.

    Federal Issues Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Credit Scores CRA FHFA

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  • FHFA Increases Conforming Loan Limits for 2018

    Federal Issues

    On November 28, the FHFA announced that it will raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages purchased in 2018 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from $424,100 to $453,100. The announcement marks the second time FHFA has increased the baseline loan limit since 2006. In high-cost areas, such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., the maximum loan limit will be $679,650. For a county-specific list of the maximum loan limits in the U.S., click here.

    Federal Issues Mortgages FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Conforming Loan

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  • Fannie and Freddie Introduce Extended Modifications for Disaster Relief

    Federal Issues

    On November 2, at the direction of the Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA), Fannie Mae introduced in Lender Letter LL-2017-09 (Letter) a temporary forbearance mortgage loan modification (Extend Mod) for servicers with mortgage loans affected by the recent disasters. The Letter covers the requirements for an Extend Mod, including outlining loan eligibility criteria. Among other requirements, the loan must (i) be located in a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area; (ii) be less than 31 days delinquent when the disaster occurred and complete the forbearance plan while between 31 days delinquent and 360 days delinquent; (iii) not be delinquent after being previously modified with an Extend Mod from the same disaster; (iv) not be insured or guaranteed by a federal government agency; and (v) not be subject to a recourse or indemnification arrangement, another workout option, or a current repayment plan that is performing. The Letter also provides information on disbursing hazard loss draft proceeds, reimbursement for property inspections, and payment records for borrower-initiated termination of mortgage insurance.

    Under the same FHFA direction and in coordination with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac issued Guide Bulletin 2017-25 announcing the servicing requirements for the Freddie Mac Extend Modification for Disaster Relief. Both Fannie and Freddie note the deadline for implementing the Extend Mod is February 1, 2018.

    Find more InfoBytes disaster relief coverage here.

    Federal Issues Disaster Relief Mortgages Mortgage Modification Mortgage Servicing FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac

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  • CFPB Releases Web-Based Tool to Track Trends in Mortgage Delinquency Rates

    Consumer Finance

    On October 30, the CFPB announced the release of a “Mortgage Performance Trends” tool that tracks delinquency rates across the nation. The tool is comprised of data from the National Mortgage Database (jointly launched by the CFPB and the FHFA in 2012) and tracks monthly changes in delinquencies in two categories – borrowers who are 30-89 days delinquent and borrowers who are 90 or more days delinquent. The tool is interactive and contains national-level data as well as data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the Bureau’s press release, the tool shows that national mortgage rates of serious delinquency rates are at their lowest level since the financial crisis.

    Consumer Finance CFPB Mortgages Federal Issues FHFA

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  • FHFA Includes a Language Preference Question in the Universal Residential Loan Application

    Lending

    On October 20, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it would include a language preference question on its updated Universal Residential Loan Application (URLA). The question will allow borrowers to indicate if they prefer to communicate in a language other than English and to identify that language. In response to industry concerns, in the preferred language question text, FHFA includes disclosure language that informs borrowers their response will not negatively affect their application, indicates a preferred language does not mean the lender agrees to communicate in that language, and provides language assistance resources.

    FHFA plans to issue the new URLA form later this year, which will go into effect beginning in July 2019. The form will be mandatory for loans made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beginning in February 2020.

    Lending Agency Rule-Making & Guidance FHFA URLA Fair Lending Mortgages Fannie Mae Freddie Mac

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  • FHFA Director Provides Update on GSE Conservatorship to House Financial Services Committee

    Federal Issues

    On October 3, the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Melvin L. Watt, testified at a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony provided an update on FHFA’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs) and Watt’s views on housing financing reform. In his prepared remarks, Watt informed the Committee that the GSEs’ financial performance has improved significantly over the course of the FHA’s conservatorship and that the GSEs continue to provide liquidity to the housing finance market. Nonetheless, Watt stressed that in less than three months, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s taxpayer-financed capital buffer will run out, and any loss the GSEs experience after that would require additional money from taxpayers. Watt warned that any additional draw of taxpayer support could erode investor confidence in the GSEs, which could result in reduced liquidity in the mortgage-backed securities market and increase the cost of credit for borrowers.

    Federal Issues House Financial Services Committee FHFA Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgages

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