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September 24, 2007

By SAM GARCIA

As legislation that will improve government mortgage programs makes its way through the nation’s capital, a number of organizations are sprouting up to help mortgage companies that want to capitalize on this growing sector.

Reform legislation for Federal Housing Administration programs overwhelmingly passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last week and is now headed to the Senate.

The legislation, H.B. 1852, The Expanding American Homeownership Act of 2007, raises FHA-insured loan limits, reduces downpayments and removes the loan cap on home equity conversion mortgages. The bill also extends the maximum length of an FHA to 40 years and authorizes zero and lower down payment loans for borrowers who can afford mortgage payments but lack the cash for a required down payment. And it more than doubles the current funding level for housing counseling to help both subprime homebuyers and borrowers who are delinquent on their loan payments.

An official for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be among speakers at the 2007 Annual Conference on Financial Education next week in Dallas, according to a press release today. The meeting, backed by the Institute for Financial Literacy, runs from Oct. 3 through Oct. 5.

On the agenda are sessions about credit reporting, investor education and The Role of Financial Education in the Subprime Mortgage Market.

MortgageDaily.com advertiser FHA Online University promotes training for government loans to originators, processors and underwriters in most states.

The company has teamed up with the National Association of Mortgage Processors to educate loan processors about the recently developed FHASecure initiative, according to an announcement today.

FHASecure was unveiled by President Bush earlier this month. Qualifying borrowers need a satisfactory mortgage payment history prior to increases to their initial payments and no more than a 97 percent loan-to-value, HUD subsequently explained. In addition, their rate must have a reset date between June 2005 and December 2009, their employment has to have been continuous and they need to earn enough to afford the payment.

Also part of the president’s package are risk-based premiums, which HUD outlined plans to implement in a recent mortgagee letter. Borrowers with credit scores below 640 who don’t have the required 3 percent downpayment themselves or can’t get it from a relative will be charged a premium of 225, while borrowers with credit scores above 680 with a 10 percent downpayment will see premiums of just 75.

“Building a wide knowledge base is crucial for mortgage processors to perform best,” today’s NAMP announcement said.

Among FHA programs receiving more attention lately are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.

Reverse Mortgage Solutions Inc., which says it currently services HECM and proprietary reverse mortgages in 29 states, reported today it has acquired the servicing on 2,500 loans since launching in March.

Its product, RM Navigator, is “capable of handling the unique reporting and cash distribution characteristics required in the servicing of reverse mortgages,” the statement said.

“The major thrust for us now is identifying those originators and investors who want to own some of the servicing or need their products serviced or subserviced,” Reverse Mortgage executive Marc Helm said in the announcement. “Our ability to provide client firms with ‘Private Label’ sub-servicing, contributes to the overall growth of the reverse mortgage sector.”


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