Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac unveil new mortgage application form

Investing

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week unveiled the
redesigned Uniform Residential Loan Application, following a directive from the
Federal Housing Finance Agency to
remove the language preference question and housing counseling information from
the updated URLA form.

Earlier this year, the FHFA ordered the government-sponsored enterprises to remove the language preference question and housing counseling information from the new URLA form, which is the standardized form used by borrowers to apply for a mortgage.

The move was welcomed by the mortgage business, namely the Mortgage Bankers Association, claiming
the language preference question may cause more problems than it solves.

But not everyone welcomed the changes.

Last week, a group of nearly 20 prominent Senate Democrats, including five who are currently running for president, called on the FHFA to undo the alterations to the URLA, claiming the changes could reduce access to credit for mortgage borrowers who are already underserved.

Under the changes proposed earlier this year by the FHFA,
the language preference question and housing counseling information are being
moved to separate voluntary forms, a change that concerns the Democrats.

The senators believe the decision to move those sections to
a separate form “could reduce access to mortgage financing for limited-English
proficient mortgage-ready homebuyers and lead to serious financial
repercussions.”

The senators also stated that the revised URLA language
preference section “clearly informed borrowers that selecting a non-English
preference would not guarantee service in that language.”

Therefore, the senators viewed it as “surprising” to see the
FHFA “arbitrarily” decided to make the changes to the form.

“Voluntary forms are not adequate disclosures,” the senators wrote. “Lenders will be under no obligation to use the new, voluntary form, and it is unclear how many will elect to do so. This will result in disparate treatment among borrowers who use different lenders.”

But despite those protestations, the GSEs rolled out the new
mortgage application form this week without the language preference question
and housing counseling information sections, as directed by the FHFA.

According to the GSEs, they are releasing a static version
of the URLA form to give the mortgage industry time to “scope additional work
needed to implement the redesigned form.”

Beyond removing the language preference question and housing
counseling information, the GSEs also state that the new form contains changes
to the Borrower Information, Additional Borrower Information, Lender Loan
Information, Continuation Sheet, and Unmarried Addendum sections of the form.

Previously, the redesigned URLA, which was originally announced more than three years ago, was scheduled for mandatory use by the mortgage industry by Feb. 1, 2020.

But when the FHFA announced the changes in August, it
delayed the implementation of the URLA form to an undetermined date in the
future.

The GSEs now state that they are now on track to publish
their respective updated automated underwriting system specifications and
supporting documents next month and will announce the updated implementation
timeline and mandate “before the end of the year.”

The GSEs also state that they will release an interactive
PDF version of the redesigned URLA in early 2020.

To read the GSEs’ announcement in full and to see the new redesigned URLA form, click here.
The post Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac unveil new mortgage application form appeared first on HousingWire.