April 20th, 2012 9:33 AM by Steve Iltis
So, what’s the perfect loan? Well, it’s one that (a) pays back the lender and(b) pays back the lender on time. Underwriting the perfect loan is not the goal that mortgage lenders aspire to today.
The real goal is the perfect loan file.
Mortgage lenders have suffered staggering losses and gone out of business because of the dreaded loan repurchase. As mortgage delinquencies increased, FannieMae and FreddieMac began to audit mortgage loans they had purchased and discovered substandard and fraudulent underwriting practices that violated representations and warranties made, stating these were high quality loans. Fannie and Freddie began forcing the originating lenders of these “bad” loans to buy them back. So a small correspondent mortgage lender is forced to buy back a single mortgage loan in the amount of $250,000. This becomes a $250,000 loss to a small mortgage business for a single loan, because it will never be repaid.It doesn’t take many of these bad loan buybacks to close the doors on many small mortgage operations. The lending houses suffered billions of dollars of losses repurchasing loans from Fannie and Freddie, and began to do the same thing for loans they had purchased from smaller originators.
The small and medium sized mortgage originators that survived created underwriting guidelines and procedures to eliminate the threat of future loan repurchase losses. The answer? The perfect loan file.
It’s no longer necessary to have excellent credit, a big down payment and stable employment with income sufficient to support your debt service to guarantee your loan approval. However, you must have a borrower profile that meets the credit underwriting guidelines for the loan you are requesting. And, more importantly, you have to be able to hard-copy-guideline document your profile.
Every nook and cranny of your financial life has to be corroborated, double and triple-checked, and reviewed again before closing. This way, if the originating lender has created a loan file that is exactly consistent with published underwriting guidelines and has documented while adhering to those guidelines, the chances are that your loan will not be subject to repurchase.
PERSONAL FINANCE | 3/09/2012
Mark Greene, Contributing author to MoneyBuilder http://blogs.forbes.com/moneybuilder/