The Real Deal Miami

FHA proposes policy changes to weed out abusive lenders

December 02, 2009 01:41PM

In an effort to regain lost finances from abusive borrowers and lenders, the Federal Housing Administration is proposing to change some of its policies. FHA officials want to increase the amount of cash borrowers need to pay upfront, which is currently set at only 3.5 percent of a FHA-backed loan. And although one lawmaker has introduced a bill that would raise the minimum down payment to 5 percent, an official number has not yet been set. Other rumored changes include raising the minimum credit score for borrowers who receive FHA-backed loans, which is now at a low 500 points out of 850. Officials also want to limit the amount of seller concessions, like paying closing costs or giving free upgrades, which is currently set at up to 6 percent of the home’s value. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said he wants the maximum value lowered to 3 percent and he plans to announce other policy changes when he appears before the House Financial Services Committee next Wednesday. These strict changes come on the heels of an audit released last month which show that the agency’s cash reserves have shrunk to a level far below what is required by law, and the agency could need taxpayer funding if it keeps losing money.