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Complying With FHA

Recent FHA vendor and lender activity

Oct. 20, 2009

By SAM GARCIA


Whether it is the Federal Housing Administration's new appraisal requirements, the FHA TOTAL Scorecard or FHA's systems -- several service providers promise to help lenders remain plugged in and compliant.

LoanSCORECARD.com provides a connection to FHA's Technology Open to Approved Lenders -- or TOTAL -- Scorecard loan-approval platform, Loan-Score Decisioning Systems announced Wednesday. Loan-Score said the new site offers lenders, originators and mortgage brokers an easy, efficient and cost effective automated FHA underwriting experience. The offering additionally includes FHA pipeline management.

Also announcing an integration with the FHA TOTAL Scorecard system was Avista Solutions, a recent news release said. Avista said its automated underwriting system provides approvals in minutes.

StreetLinks National Appraisal Services issued an Oct. 13 announcement indicating that its services are in compliance with FHA mortgagee letter 2009-28, which outlined new requirements about who is eligible to request FHA appraisals. The new requirement is effective on Jan. 1.

"This will have a big impact on lenders, as did the HVCC agreement," StreetLinks Chief Executive Officer Steve Haslam said in the statement. "We're 100 percent compliant."

In an Oct. 11 statement, appraisal management company Solidifi said it is also compliant with HUD's new FHA Appraiser Independence and Appraiser Engagement regulations. Solidifi noted that the FHA rules are similar to the Home Valuation Code of Conduct used on conforming loans.

Solidifi noted that the HVCC triggered many protests from loan originators -- and the new FHA guidelines only make the situation more complex. Many lenders turned to traditional AMCs that keep up to half of the appraisal fee, but generate work from distant appraisers willing to work for less.

"The new FHA guidelines require that appraisers be compensated at rates that are reasonable and customary in their markets, which means that traditional AMCs will either have to modify their business models, charge far more for appraisals or simply go out of business," the company said.

But Solidifi pays the full fee to the appraisers and charges clients customary rates. It also rates appraisers based on their ability to appraise a given locality -- leading to better qualified appraisers performing the work.

Lenders are concerned over potential delays when trying to procure and manage FHA case numbers because the task of generating case numbers will shift from the originator to non-production staff, the statement said. But Solidifi said it offers a simple tool that makes the transition easier.

Motivity Solutions Inc.'s FHA SafeGuard, which ensures loans are compliant with FHA's systems, has been combined with Xerox Mortgage Services' new FHA electronic case binder, which manages the imaged-based loan delivery process.

First Trust Mortgage announced this month that it was certified as an FHA lender. In addition, the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm has changed its name to Fisher Mortgage LLC.


Sam Garcia worked in mortgage lending for twenty years prior to becoming publisher of MortgageDaily.com in 2000.

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