Home Loan Credit Decisions Are About to Change

          This will be a heads-up for residents who may be applying for a home loan in the future: there are some major adjustments underway that could affect their eligibility.   It hasn’t been talked about much — possibly because most peoples’ eyes tend to glaze over when the topic of loan analysis is raised  . But the more mortgage applicants know about how lenders decide which loans to grant and on what terms, the better the odds of getting a green light.   Briefly, here’s what is coming:

          Starting on the 25th of this month, the way Fannie Mae (FNMA) goes about assessing creditworthiness will change.   FNMA is the government-backed outfit that buys up private lenders’ home loans once they have been made.   That insures that the lenders continue to have a steady supply of cash with which to fund new loans.   In short, Fannie’s mission is to keep the home loan industry liquid.   Together with similar corporation Freddie Mac, they are behind 60% of home loans in the U.S. — so many area mortgages are directly involved.

          In order to qualify for government backing, lenders have to prove that a given home loan carries an acceptable level of risk.   Lenders work with software programs issued by Fannie to help put numbers to the amount of risk — and that’s where the change is about to take place.   Beginning next weekend, their latest release of the software (“Desk Underwriter 10.0”) will start to be used.   For the first time, it will add a new element in the way an applicant’s credit history is analyzed — one that is intended to better predict their ability to repay.   It’s called “trended data.”

          Credit reports will continue to use the familiar scoring benchmarks: outstanding balance, percentage of credit used, and timeliness of payments.   In fact, the traditional credit scores aren’t slated to be impacted at all.   What will change is the importance those scores are given, because the trended credit data will go deeper into what a borrower’s history shows.   The software will take the previous 24 months’ revolving credit card payment history to rate whether the trend has been one of using more credit; maintaining the same level of borrowing; or paying down balances.   In brief, if the “trended data” shows that balances owed have been rising, it indicates a Near Prime borrower.   If the amount owed remains relatively stable, it shows a Prime borrower.   If the balances have been dropping, it indicates a Super Prime candidate who is most likely to repay without a hitch.

          There are nuances, too (they really would make everyone’s eyes glaze over) — but that’s the big picture.   For mortgage applicants who will be applying this summer, the fact that their history will now be analyzed in this manner is at least good to know — even if it’s not possible to alter.   For everyone else who may not be applying for a while yet, it should be useful to plan credit card usage in light of how it’s likely to affect lending decisions.

          I make it a point to keep my clients abreast of all current developments affecting the buying, selling, and financing of area properties.   Whenever you have a question about anything to do with our local real estate scene, I hope you won’t hesitate to call! 

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Terry Reeves

Terry Reeves

Real Estate Professional
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