FHA steals Fannie’s thunder on low downpayment loans
WASHINGTON – Feb. 22, 2016 – Fannie Mae's low down payment product has fallen far short of expectations, the company acknowledged Friday.
The government-sponsored enterprise was enthusiastic about launching the 97 percent loan-to-value product when it announced it in December 2014. But it has yet to become a sizable part of Fannie's business.
"To date, we have had about 24,000 loans delivered to us from about 700 different lenders," said Timothy Mayopoulos, Fannie's president and chief executive, in a conference call on Friday morning. "But obviously with only 24,000 loans, which is about 1 percent of our total acquisitions over that time period, it is still a modest portion of our total credit book."
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt announced the new initiative at the 2014 Mortgage Bankers Association conference, saying it would "increase access for creditworthy but lower-wealth borrowers."
But Fannie and Freddie Mac ran into competition from the traditional 3.5 percent downpayment loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. In a surprise move, FHA reduced its 1.35 basis point annual premium to 85-bps in January 2015.
FHA's move to reduce its premiums "cut into the total amount of deliveries that came to us," Mayopoulos said on Friday.
Fannie still likes the quality of the 3 percent downpayment loans it is receiving from lenders. The applications are submitted through Desktop Underwriter. "They are fully and properly documented," Mayopoulos said.
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