Fannie Mae adds Speed Bump Prior to Funding Your Mortgage

photo compliments of veggiefrog via Flickr

photo compliments of veggiefrog via Flickr

Effective on loan applications taken on June 1, 2010 or later, Fannie Mae is requiring lenders to confirm that undisclosed liabilities are not present prior to funding a transaction as part of their Loan Quality Initiative (LQI).   Currently a credit report is pulled and is valid for a specific amount of time–as long as the transaction closes prior to the expiration of the credit report, it typically is not repulled.   Fannie Mae is now requiring the lender to make sure that there is no new or undisclosed credit at closing.   Relying on the original credit report pulled at application is no longer good enough.

Fannie Mae’s FAQs suggest these tips for lenders to help confirm there are no undisclosed liabilities:

  • Retrieving a refreshed credit report just prior to the closing date and reviewing it for additional credit lines.
  • Utilizing new vendor services to provide borrower credit report monitoring services between the time of loan application and closing.
  • Direct verification with a creditor that is listed on the credit report under recent inquiries to determine whether a prospective borrower did in fact obtain credit or enter into a financial arrangement that is not disclosed on the loan application.
  • Running a Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) report to determine if the borrower has another mortgage that is being established simultaneously.

This means days before funding a Fannie Mae loan, the transactions are subject to being re-underwritten and if the borrower is “borderline” (which is a 620 mid-credit score in today’s climate and/or higher debt-to-income ratio) or decides to purchase their appliances for their new home before closing…they could potentially “kill” their deal and find themselves being “unapproved”.

Fannie Mae states that loans should be resubmitted to underwriting if:

  • additional debts have been incurred which would increase the debt-to-income ratios
  • if new derogatory information is detected
  • if the credit score has materially changed

Borrowers should understand that the loan application is intended to represent their financial scenario and whenever (even before LQI) changes are made to their application, their mortgage originator needs to know.   This is not new.   When changes occur and a borrower is aware (such as taking on more debt or changing their employment) and they hope they “won’t get caught” before closing, they’re committing fraud.   This is what Fannie Mae is trying to prevent with LQI.

Borrowers with conventional financing need to be extra mindful of LQI.   Using a credit card to fill your SUV full of gas could potentially ding your score if you’ve carry a balance of 30% or more of the available credit limit.   Even closing a credit card during or just before a transaction could drop your score low enough to where the lender may have to reconsider your loan approval AT CLOSING.

For mortgage companies and banks (anyone who sells loans to Fannie Mae)  it boils down to having to refresh, repull or face re-purchasing the loan if changes to the credit report are found between application and funding.    Fannie Mae is not specifically requiring credit reports be repulled prior to funding–they are holding the lender responsible for changes if they don’t.

Borrowers, real estate agents and originators need to be prepared for potential delays in closing, repricing of their mortgage loan (which would trigger another delay due to MDIA) or the loan potentially being denied.   It’s more important than ever that borrowers work closely with a qualified mortgage professional who can help guide them through the process.

More Upcoming Changes to Underwriting

Fannie Mae issued Announcement 09-19 amending some very basic underwriting guidelines that will not only impact conventional financing; it will apply to FHA insured loans that are underwriting using Fannie Mae’s DU.   You can read the entire announcement by clicking  here.

Here are some of the changes:

  • Credit documents will be valid for 90 days instead of the current 120 for existing construction.   The age of the document is measured from the date of the document to the date the Note is signed.
  • IRS Forms 4506 or 4506-T is required at application and at closing.  This is due to fraud (misrepresentation of income).
  • Age of appraisal is reduced from 6 months to 4 months.
  • Trailing Secondary Wage Earner Income is eliminated.   Now with a relocation, only the income of the spouse with actual employment may be considered.  Previously, it was possible to use the relocating spouse’s income from their employment prior to the relo without having an actual job.
  • Verbal Verification of Employment required within 10 days of signing the Note for employment income and within 30 days for self-employed income.  (Our company has always performed a verbal VOE prior to funding).
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds now valued at 70% instead of 100% to be used as reserves.   Due to market volatility, Fannie Mae is devaluing your portfolio.   This means that if you provide your mortgage originator with a stock, bond or mutual fund statement showing an ending balance of $10,000; the figure used for qualifying and on the application will be $7,000 (70% of the value).   Stock options and non-vested restricted stocks are no longer eligible to use as reserves.
  • Retirement accounts valued at 60% instead of 70% to be used as reserves.  

Fannie Mae’s effective dates are to follow…if the loan is manually underwritten, this applies to applications dated on or after September 1, 2009.   However, expect to see lenders and banks to adopt these guidelines early.

Fannie Mae Increases the Allowance for Financed Properties Owned

It is really challenging to keep up with our constant changing guidelines.   Just this morning I was commenting over at the Seattle PI Real Estate Blog about the conventional guidelines permitting only four financed properties at a time for a borrower (more than four financed properties–no conventional mortgage for you!).    Moments ago, I received this updating Fannie’s guidelines (Announcement 09-02):

Multiple Mortgages to the Same Borrower
To support prudent lending for housing investment, Fannie Mae is changing our current limit of four financed properties per borrower. We will allow five to ten financed properties per borrower, with certain eligibility and underwriting requirements, including a 720 minimum credit score and 70-75% maximum LTV/CLTV/HCLTV (depending on the transaction and property type). The requirements apply to any loan being delivered to Fannie Mae, regardless of whether Fannie Mae is the investor on the borrower’s other mortgages.

Just a reminder that any mortgage guidelines that you find on the internet may no longer apply!

I better hop on over to the PI and correct my comment from this morning.  🙂

Fannie and Freddie to track loan performance of originator and the appraiser.

It was announced today that beginning Jan. 1, 2010 Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be required to obtain loan-level identifiers for the loan originator, loan origination company, field appraiser and supervisory appraiser. The purpose of the requirement is to prevent fraud and predatory lending, to ensure mortgages owned and guaranteed by those Enterprises are originated by individuals who have complied with applicable licensing and education requirements under the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act. In addition, they will use the data collected to identify, measure, monitor and control risks associated with originators’ and appraisers’ performance, negligence and fraud. Hat tip John Long and Gordy. 

Here is the PDF from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie and Freddie’s new regulator.

“This represents a major industry change. Requiring identifiers allows the Enterprises to identify loan originators and appraisers at the loan-level, and to monitor performance and trends of their loans,

Join me for a Housing Market Conversation with Lawrence Yun

I don’t normally cross-post between and Rain City Guide, but tomorrow I’m having a conversation with the Chief Economist of the National Association of REALTORS that I think will interest many people in the Rain City Guide community.   We’re going to be talking about the effect that the recent news associated with the FDIC bailing out IndyMac and the Treasuring providing support to Freddie/Fannie will have on the housing market.

I fully expect this radio show to be interesting, lively and informative and welcome you to join.   As with Rain City Radio, there’ll be an associated chat, and I’ll be picking out questions from the chat room.   Please consider joining us!

The First in a Series of Fannie and Freddie Bailouts

The rumors floated on Friday regarding Fannie and Freddie turned out to be true.  This first bailout proposal, released a few hours ago, has three parts.  I say “first” because there is no way that this is going to be enough to save what’s headed our way nor will this be the only time the government will need to “bailout” F&F.

The U.S. Treasury plans to seek approval for a temporary increase in the line of credit granted to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They will also seek authority to buy equity in either company, and the Federal Reserve voted to allow the New York Fed to loan F&F money, if needed, giving F&F access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window.

The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. Treasury and The Federal Reserve are doing this mainly to boost confidence in F&F, not necessarily because any of this is needed, which to me seems to be a flat out lie.

The weekend move means that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has been steadily accumulating authority as the U.S. grapples with the financial crisis, will have even more power. The Treasury envisions the Fed working with the mortgage giants’ regulator to help prevent situations that could be a risk for the entire financial system. The move builds on Treasury’s broader goal of remaking financial regulation to give the Fed broader influence over financial-market stability.

I’m not sure if we’re suppose to be happy or scared at the thought of Ben Bernanke accumulating more power.  Maybe what’s really going on is some preemptive planning due to known or unknown possibilities that tomorrow’s auction of Freddie Mac debt doesn’t go well.

The Sunday move was designed in part to head off fears about Monday’s auction of Freddie Mac notes. While small, the planned sale had assumed an outsized importance as a test of investor confidence. Freddie should be able to find buyers for its three- and six-month notes, market analysts said. But there is a chance that some financial institutions and investors may demand higher-then-usual yields.

Similar Freddie and Fannie notes that are currently outstanding yield around 2.5%. If weak demand for Freddie’s auction leads to sharply higher yields on the new notes, that could trigger a selloff across a wide range of debt issued by the companies, some analysts said. But most said such a scenario is unlikely.

I’ve been glued to the web, the radio, and my phone since Friday evening reading, listening, and talking about this with friends and colleagues. If the federal government choses to provide (the implied) government backing for bondholders, then the United States increases our national debt by 5 trillion dollars which would have a profoundly negative impact on the value of the dollar and potentially bankrupting the U. S. economy. If the federal government chooses to do nothing and F&F are forced to mark their portfolio closer to market value and sell off assets to accumulate capital, then the true value of what’s in the bag becomes known. The secret will be out and now nobody will be interested in buying our Residential Mortgage Backed Securities, the market will know the true value of the loans currently being held by banks all over the U.S., mortgage lending slows way down, interest rates go way up, and the housing market goes cliff diving.

It seems to me that with this first bailout proposal (I am preparing for more bailouts as should you) everything is just going to be delayed as long as possible, taking us down further into a deeper recession step-by-step.

This bailout proposal is not enough. We have only just begun to see foreclosures rise. We still have the rest of 2008 to get through, when another round of pay option ARMS originated in 2006 begins to adjust, and through 2009 when the ARMs originated in 2007 adjust. Defaults and foreclosures are far from over.

There was a guy who predicted the demise of Fannie and Freddie back in 2006.  His proposal is that we nationalize Fannie and Freddie, quit pretending that they’re a private company, and restructure the debt, thereby forcing the bondholders to take a haircut.

Sniglet asks an interesting question (comment 123): “So what happens to the shareholders? Do any of these plans ensure that there is no dilution of equity if any form of bail-out were to occur? If the GSE shareholders aren’t protected then we could see a complete abandonment of the financial system by investors. Who will want to buy shares in financial firms if the government isn’t going to ensure their investments remain safe?”

From everything I’ve read over the weekend, the government likely will not protect shareholder equity.  Whether or not they should is up for debate.

Fannie Mae's Jumbo-Conforming Loan Guidelines

I started this post with the plans of announcing the pricing for the Jumbo-Conforming mortgages…however, I just don’t have enough facts to do so yet. It looks like Fannie Mae’s add to rate is 0.25%…however, lenders will most likely have their own add to rate as well. (So far, I’ve only seen a jumbo-conforming rate from one lender which was in the high 6 range for a 30 year). As soon as I have more data, I’ll let you know.

Here is some basic information from Fannie Mae regarding temporary Jumbo-Conforming mortgages (loan amounts from $417,001 – $567,500 for King, Pierce Snohomish Counties):

Purchase Mortgages/Principal Residence
Fixed Rate: Max LTV/CLTV 90%. Minimum Mid-Score LTV>80%: 700 / LTV = or <80%: 660.
ARMs: Max LTV/CLTV 80%. Minimum Mid-Score: 660%

Limited Cash Out Refi (Limited cash out means you can recieve a maximum of $2000 cash back at closing).
Fixed/ARMs: Max LTV 75%/Max CLTV 95%. Minimum Mid-Score: 660
Cash out refinances are not eligible (this includes paying off a second mortgage with a refinance, which is considered “cash out”). Update 4/7/2008: Fannie Mae just issued clarification on this guideline: they will now treat paying off a purchase money second as a limited cash out refinance.

*Full doc only.
*2 months reserves (PITI) are required for primary residence.
*45% maximum DTI ratio.
*ARMS are qualified on the fully amortized PITI at the higher of the note rate or fully indexed rate.
*Limited to four financed properties, including the borrower’s principal residence.

Remember, this coach turns back into a pumpkin on December 31, 2008.

Lenders will start pricing “jumbo conforming” anytime…stay tuned!