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FHA Eases Modification Requirements

Mortgagee letter outlined changes

Nov. 19, 2012

By Mortgage Daily staff


Requirements are being loosened for modifications on loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. In addition to higher debt-to-income ratios and expanded FHA claim amounts, borrowers who previously failed a trial-payment plan could be given another chance to try again.

The maximum back-end debt-to-income ratio requirement of 55 percent is being eliminated on FHA-HAMP transactions.

Also being eliminated is the 12-month restriction on the amount of principal, interest, taxes and insurance that can be included in an FHA-HAMP partial claim.

The updates were spelled out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Mortgagee Letter 2012-22.

In addition, the FHA-HAMP eligibility requirement that FHA-insured mortgages are no more than 12 full payments past due is being removed.

FHA's loss mitigation home retention option priority order is being streamlined by replacing its current four-tier incentive structure with a three-tier incentive. Special forbearance is the first option to be considered, followed by a loan modification and an FHA-HAMP.

Mortgagees have 90 days to implement assessment of FHA's loss mitigation priority order.

The term "special forbearance" is being re-defined to apply only when the borrower is unemployed.

The mortgagee letter indicated that FHA-HAMP is being expanded to consist of a stand-alone modification, stand-alone partial claim or a combination thereof.

Mortgagors who previously failed to successfully complete a trial payment plan will now be permitted to re-apply for standard loan modifications or FHA-HAMP if their financial circumstances have improved.

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