FHA Announces Substantial Reforms
12/19/12 - The Federal Housing Administration’s Acting Commissioner, Carol J. Galante, announced Dec. 18 that she would implement substantial reforms to shore up the government mortgage program, which reported Nov. 14 that it was $16.3 billion in the red, Mortgage Daily reported.

The changes Galante will implement include limiting borrowers with credit scores less than 620 to a 43 percent total debt-to-income ratio. Borrowers with high debt-to-income ratios will be subject to manual underwriting and potentially to higher down payment requirements. The change is expected to cut claim rates by 20 percent.

The FHA also will eliminate its standard, fixed-rate home-equity conversion mortgages — a reverse mortgage program that allowed seniors to draw a large lump sum at closing, ranging from 62 to 77 percent of the property’s appraised value. Many seniors now are unable to keep up with payments and facing foreclosure.

Additional changes include reducing FHA market share by cutting loan-to-value ratios to 95 percent on loans greater than $625,000 and more closely scrutinizing borrowers with prior foreclosures.

“I've been working closely with (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Secretary (Shaun) Donovan and Acting Commissioner Galante over the past few weeks on ways we can put FHA on sound financial footing,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in a news release, Mortgage Daily reported. Corker is member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “While this is only a first step, I am encouraged that Acting Commissioner Galante has committed to structural reforms that we both believe put FHA in a much stronger position,” he said.

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