A new loan quality initiative from Fannie Mae is making it harder for home buyers and refinancing homeowners everywhere to close on a mortgage.
Beginning June 1, 2010, with all new applications, Fannie Mae wants lenders to verify that borrowers have not taken on new debt during the underwriting phase of the mortgage.
If new debts are found, the mortgage is subject to a re-underwrite and a possible turndown.
For Fannie Mae, the goal is to reduce the number of loans that go bad because of new, non-disclosed debt. Lenders have the freedom to verify in whatever manner they wish, but in most cases, the verification process will amount to a credit re-pull made just prior to closing.
The underwriters will be looking for 3 things in particular — even after your loan is approved.
First, your updated credit report will show your current credit card bills and minimum monthly payments. Those numbers will replace your original numbers made at the time of application. If the debts exceed a certain threshold, your loan will be denied.
Second, underwriters will be looking at your updated credit score. If your FICO has dropped below minimum lending standards, your loan will be denied. Or, you may be subject to a new loan-level pricing adjustment.
Loan level pricing adjustments are mandatory loan fee based on your credit score.
And, lastly, underwriters will be looking at your credit report’s Credit Inquiry section. The goal is to see if you’ve been applying for credit elsewhere. Underwriters can use this information at their discretion.
Fannie Mae’s Loan Quality Initiative is just one more way that the government-backed group is trying to improve its loan pools. Unfortunately, it’ll mean more turndowns for mortgage applicants.
Therefore, take extra care of your credit between the time of application and the time of closing. Don’t buy new cars, don’t buy new appliances, and — most definitely — don’t open new credit cards. Be extra safe with your credit because a mortgage application that’s supposedly cleared-to-close can be revoked at the eleventh hour.
When in doubt, talk to your loan officer about what may or may not trigger the Loan Quality Initiative. Your loan approval is at stake.