Mortgage Daily

Published On: December 16, 2022

What Is Fannie Mae?

The Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, controls the secondary mortgage market. But what does that mean?

Together with its counterpart, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae acquires around 66% of the mortgages originated by American lenders.

This frees up funds so lenders may continue lending and purchasers can continue acquiring properties.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contribute significantly to the rate you receive from your mortgage provider. These two factors greatly influence keeping mortgage rates in the United States relatively low.

What Does Fannie Mae Do?

Fannie Mae plays a major role in the mortgage industry, yet few borrowers know what it does.

It has neither branches nor ATMs. It is not a lending institution. Fannie Mae significantly influences the interest rate you pay and the sort of mortgage financing you receive.

Consider a local bank or mortgage firm to comprehend Fannie Mae’s operation.

If Smith Lending has access to $25 million to originate mortgages, and the average mortgage amount is $200,000, then Smith can produce 125 mortgages. ($200,000 x 125 Equals $25 million.)

In this scenario, if you are Smith Lending’s mortgage customer number 126, you are out of luck. There is no additional money to lend.

Fannie Mae and the secondary mortgage market come into action at this point.

Fannie Mae and the Secondary Mortgage Market

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are secondary mortgage market participants.

They then repackage the mortgages as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Then, Fannie and Freddie sell MBS to investors worldwide.

Returning to the preceding example, the 125 mortgages sold by Smith Lending constitute an asset. These loans can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac by Smith.

Once the deal is finalized, Smith will have new funds and will be able to support other local mortgages.

You can see the advantage. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac help lenders to issue additional loans by acquiring mortgages. With more money for financing, customers continue to purchase homes, and the real estate market remains buoyant.

In addition, these firms invest global investor funds in the U.S. housing market.

More money available for mortgages results in reduced mortgage rates. As a result of Fannie and Freddie’s countrywide operations, mortgage rates are comparable across the nation.

What Influence Fannie Mae Has on Your Mortgage

Fannie Mae is pleased to purchase mortgages from lenders, but not all mortgages.

For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to resell loans, they must be considered secure assets. That means each mortgage must fulfill specified requirements or “guidelines.”

Fannie Mae standards run more than 1,200 pages. For example, the highest credit amount that Fannie Mae will acquire in 2022 is $647,200. The corporation would not acquire larger debts, sometimes known as “jumbo finance.”

Fannie Mae significantly influences determining which mortgage applicants are considered “qualified” and which are not, owing to these sorts of restrictions.

Fannie Mae’s Guidelines for Conforming and Conventional Mortgages

Mortgages that comply with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s rules are known as “conforming” mortgages.

You may also be familiar with the term “traditional finance.” Simply put, a conventional mortgage is a non-government mortgage. These loans are not guaranteed by the FHA, the VA, or the USDA.

In practice, it is conceivable for a mortgage to be both “conforming” and “conventional,” meaning that it is neither insured nor guaranteed by a government program.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s criteria are crucial in the mortgage industry.

These specifications may include the following:

  • The magnitude of the mortgage (limits vary by state)
  • Minimum credit score needed (usually 620)
  • Minimum down payment required (as low as 3 percent)
  • Private mortgage insurance (needed for down payments of less than 20%)
  • Debt-to-income ratios (usually permitted up to 43%)

As a borrower, you must be aware that guidelines are frequently flexible.

For example, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) might be high if you have several monthly expenses. This would make it challenging to qualify for a conforming loan. However, “compensating variables” like a substantial down payment or substantial savings might assist in balancing your DTI and allow you to qualify.

In summary, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s financing requirements are typically less stringent than borrowers may anticipate.

HomeReady Mortgages: Flexible Mortgages Guaranteed by Freddie Mac

The HomeReady mortgage is a Fannie Mae program with several deviations from the typical requirements.

You can qualify for the HomeReady program with a 3% down payment instead of 5%. Need to earn more money to qualify? Up to 30 percent of the buyer’s income may be from a roommate. Actually, you do not need to be a first-time buyer.

Talk to loan officers for additional information about Fannie Mae products and services. If you require compensatory factors, inquire about them.

Is Fannie Mae Owned by the Government?

The federal government launched Fannie Mae (FNMA) in 1938. It was intended to assist in reviving the housing market following the Great Depression.

Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored business (GSE) since it was established by the government.

Fannie Mae was split out to shareholders in 1968 and is currently traded on the over-the-counter market. According to Fortune, it is currently the 22nd largest firm in the United States by revenue.

There are now private stockholders in Fannie Mae. The federal government placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under “conservatorship” in 2008 following the mortgage crisis.

According to ProPublica, Fannie got $120 billion from the government and has repaid about $185 billion. At the time of writing, it is still operated by the federal government, a fact being litigated.



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