Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama Plan - Can You Benefit?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have just released details on how they will handle refinance transactions authorized by the Home Affordable Refinance program. The complete details of both programs can be found by accessing the program guides from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but we will discuss some of the highlights below.

You probably have seen already that lenders and investors are in a holding pattern, as they determine if, when and how they will accept these transactions. Even though this legislation has passed - they are not all required to participate. For right now, your very first step is to contact your existing servicer, and get information from them as to their participation.

In the case of all loans, th ey have to be delivered back to the existing owner of the loan today. Meaning, if Fannie Mae is the owner of the loan, the loan must be delivered to Fannie Mae and underwritten according to their guidelines. The same is true for Freddie Mac.

You must determine who owns the loan. A borrower has the ability to do this by contacting their servicer and asking...or by using the links below. Note that the property address must be entered exactly as the agency has it on file, or it may not be found (ie: Rd or Road? St or Street? You may want check how it appears on your statement.)

Does Fannie Mae Own Your Mortgage?

Does Freddie Mac Own Your Mortgage?

Let's look at the guidelines for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and point out some of the key factors we see that will impact or enhance your ability to participate.

One key point to remember is that these are the guides as they are originating from the agencies. And just as participation in the programs is voluntary, individual investors and servicers may choose to implement constraints that deviate from the guidelines, much in the same manner that we are seeing additional underwriting overlays in the processing of loan files today.

Fannie Mae

Let's look at the difference between the types of refinancing available from Fannie. The primary difference for originators is as follows between the two programs..

DU Refi Plus

Available to all Fannie Mae approved lenders using DU; borrower must credit qualify.
Available across all lending channels (retail, wholesale and correspondent).

Refi Plus

If a client does NOT qualify for DU Refi Plus, they may still be able to refinance, but would have to work directly with the current servicer, or one of the servicer's affiliates or retail channels.

Many of the guidelines are similar for both DU Refi Plus and Refi Plus. Similarities include:

That the borrower must be receiving either a lower mortgage payment or moving to a more stable type of product like an ARM to a Fixed-Rate. ARM programs are available but must have initial fixed periods of five years or greater.
The maximum LTV is 105%. There is no limitation on CLTV, but 2nd lien holders will need to re-subordinate.
If PMI does not exist on the loan today, it will not be required on the new loan, regardless of LTV. If PMI does exist on the loan, the loan will be required to be re-insured through the existing PMI company.
LLPA's (loan level pricing adjustments) exist for both loans, see guides for details or consult your investors.
The availability for appraisal waivers will exist in limited situations.
Freddie Mac
The Freddie Mac guidelines are somewhat similar to Fannie Mae's, but if you go through the detailed guidelines linked above, you will see they are a bit more vague at this time. Although Freddie Mac initially stated that these refinances may ONLY be originated by the servicer or one of their retail or affiliate channels, right as this article of the release of this article, we have learned from a source at Freddie Mac that they are looking at options that could enable more originators to be involved in refinances under this program.

One potential area that could cause a problem is that while no cash out is allowed, funds extended to cover closing costs may not exceed $2,500.

Additional Resources:

Does Fannie Mae Own Your Mortgage?

Does Freddie Mac Own Your Mortgage?