The Housing Chronicles Blog: New & stricter Fannie Mae loan guidelines issued

Friday, April 4, 2008

New & stricter Fannie Mae loan guidelines issued

For those homeowners facing foreclosure walking away from homes thinking they'll just jump back in with no consequences in a couple of years, FannieMae has some news: no problem, as long as it's been 5 years since a foreclosure (the rule used to be 4) and a minimum FICO score of 580. From a story in the Wall Street Journal:

Fannie Mae announced a new round of tightening in its standards for home mortgages it buys or guarantees.

The government-sponsored provider of funding for home loans told lenders Monday it will require a minimum credit score of 580 for most loans it buys on an individual basis. Credit scores, which range from 300 to 850, are designed to measure borrowers' likelihood of repaying loans. In the past, Fannie had no minimum score. The company said it will still acquire loans with lower credit scores in certain circumstances.

Among other changes announced to lenders, Fannie also said it will increase the period needed for borrowers to "re-establish" their credit history after a foreclosure to five years from four years. Fannie said it would allow shorter recovery periods for borrowers with "documented extenuating circumstances" that caused the foreclosure.

Separately, Fannie last week told loan servicers -- companies that collect loan payments -- that they can increase their forbearance period on delinquent borrowers to as much as six months from four months to allow more time to seek alternatives to foreclosure. Fannie hopes that move will reduce the number of loans on which it needs to recognize losses, though it may be only delaying the pain in some cases.

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