The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plans to help banks avoid being forced to buy back mortgages as it becomes concerned that lenders are tightening standards even for the most creditworthy home buyers.
The FHFA will detail flaws that would trigger a putback request, Stefanie Johnson, a spokeswoman for FHFA, said in a statement. The regulator also is standardizing the data Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collect on each loan so they have more information when buying mortgages from lenders, she said.
Banks are requiring credit scores on government-backed loans that are between 100-200 points higher than the minimums set by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, after the government-controlled agencies demanded lenders repurchase more than $80 billion in flawed loans over the past three years.
“The lenders perceive the pendulum has swung too far, and they’re being held accountable for things beyond their control,” said Brian Chappelle, a partner at the bank consulting firm Potomac Partners. “Their reaction is going to be to tighten up.”