Fannie Mae Pressures Lenders to Adopt New Rules

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Fannie Mae wants mortgage lenders to cozy up to its new mortgage mandates.

Fannie Mae (Stock Quote: FNM) has taken quite a drubbing of late.

The mortgage lending giant is squarely under the federal government’s microscope, with a U.S. Senate resolution to study ways to cut government ties with Fannie Mae already approved and consumer advocates up in arms over the $145 billion that the agency has already collected from taxpayers since Sept. 2008.

But that doesn’t mean Fannie can’t wield some serious power.

The agency’s Uniform Loan Delivery Dataset is set to roll out on Sept. 1, 2011, but the agency isn’t waiting until then to tell lenders to start complying with the new loan delivery rules right away.

In a nutshell, the Uniform Appraisal Dataset standardizes key appraisal data elements to “enhance data quality and promote consistency.”

According to a summary of the program provided by Fannie Mae, the UAD will:

Include all data points required for a complete appraisal report and standardizes key data points. The standardization of certain data points will support consistent appraisal reporting, regardless of geographic location of the property or any localized reporting conventions, by addressing vague or disparate data currently included on some appraisal reports, such as:

•    Variations in formatting numbers, dates, and measures.

•    Inconsistent terminology for identical information (such as waterfront vs. oceanfront).

•    Inconsistent use of descriptions (for example, property condition is sometimes reported in absolute terms such as "brick" and in relative terms, such as "average").

But with 500 provisions in the UAD program, Fannie Mae wants lenders to comply sooner rather than later.

Angela Benton, vice president of single-family home loan acquisitions at Fannie Mae, told an audience at a mortgage conference in Grapevine, Texas recently that the new mandates are so pervasive and complex, lenders should start implementing them now.

"We want to do whatever we can to accommodate customers as you move to the new standards," Benton said. "You're better off knowing now what to do and how to do it, then you'll be when the new mandates start in Nov. 2011."

All told, Benton says lenders have a lot of homework to do, given they’ll need to gather the following data:

  • Nearly 100, or 97, data points required for all loans to deliver to a government sponsored enterprise
  • 182 “conditional” requirements
  • 101 conditionally independent requirements
  • 120 “optional” requirements that Fannie says could become mandates

Benton told the audience that the new rules should “reduce time and costs by incorporating one set of loan standards.”

The new riles go into effect next September, but Fannie Mae will release a test version of the UAD on Nov. 1 and begin accepting loans under the new rules by Nov. 22.

Call it a warning, friendly advice, or throwing its weight around, but Fannie Mae wants lenders to play ball under a new set of loan delivery rules sooner rather than later.

And as history shows, whatever Fannie wants, Fannie usually gets.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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