The Federal Housing Administration has no plans to implement the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, Commissioner David Stevens told a delegation from the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. NAMB's FHA chairman John Councilman, who attended the meeting, reported that Mr. Stevens said he was well aware of the problems originators have been having with the code, which only applies to loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That being said, the commissioner added FHA is looking at alternatives it feels would insulate appraisers from pressure from originators. Mr. Stevens also told NAMB that plans for FHA to start risk-based pricing for mortgage insurance on Oct. 1 will not be implemented anytime soon.
The meeting also clarified upcoming changes in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act as it applies to FHA. Mortgage brokers will no longer be allowed to charge discount points starting on Jan. 1, 2010. The 1% fee limitation has been removed, and there is no limit as long as the fees are customary to the market. Furthermore, all fees, including those that are charged by the lender, must be lumped into one sum. A yield-spread premium may be charged, but it must be disclosed on a separate line on the good-faith estimate.
FHA reserves are higher than they have ever been, Mr. Stevens told NAMB. That being said, he would not rule out that the government would have to bail out FHA because those reserves are projections and those projections could be changed. Still the average credit score for the program has risen from 633 to 693, due to the elimination of what were termed "troublesome programs" such as seller-paid downpayment assistance and cash-out refinancing.