Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fannie Mae is Cracking Down!

There are some new rules going into effect shortly that will have an enormous effect on some mortgage transactions. Here's the biggest one:

Effective for all loan applications dated June 1, 2010 and later, Fannie Mae is "requiring lenders to determine that all debts of the borrower incurred or closed up to and concurrent with the closing of the subject mortgage are disclosed on the final loan application and included in the qualification for the subject mortgage loan."

Here's what it means. If a borrower opens a new account or increases the balance on an existing account between the time of application and the closing, the new debt has to be included. The best case is that the closing gets delayed. The worst case is that the borrower no longer qualifies for the loan and the deal is dead.

Fannie Mae provides the following "tips for lenders to consider" when attempting to find undisclosed liabilities. That's Fannie Mae Speak for "Do these things or else!"

- Refreshing a credit report just prior to closing may uncover additional debt or credit inquiries.

- Credit inquiries found on the credit report should be investigated to determine whether the borrower did in fact open additional debt resulting in repayment obligations. In some cases, it is possible to obtain a direct verification with the creditor associated with the inquiry.

- Fraud-detection tools are available through multiple vendors that assist lenders in identifying undisclosed mortgages or other potentially fraudulent scenarios.

Fannie Mae is not requiring these things until June 1, but lenders are allowed to implement them earlier. Many lenders probably will.

Be prepared! The mortgage industry has changed and continues to change. Being in the industry for 20 years means nothing if you don't stay up to date with all the changes. If your current lender has not already told you about these new rules, ask him why he hasn't. Maybe it's time to change lenders.

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