FHFA Unveils Financial Rules for Nonbank Mortgage Servicers

The Federal Housing Finance Agency on Friday unveiled financial requirements for nonbank lenders that originate and service mortgages, a change designed to reduce risk at mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac .

The proposed standards are directed at nonbank mortgage companies such as Ocwen Financial Corp. and Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. These companies sometimes originate mortgages, but also buy from lenders the right to collect mortgage payments from borrowers, send payments to mortgage investors and process foreclosures.

The standards could affect the availability of mortgages to some borrowers because some nonbanks may need to divert resources to meet the requirements. On the other hand, the proposal appears to be less stringent than some analysts expected.

Nonbank lenders and servicers that do business with Fannie and Freddie will need to have a minimum net worth of at least $2.5 million plus 0.25% of the unpaid principal balances of all the mortgages they service, said the FHFA, which regulates Fannie and Freddie. Before, Fannie and Freddie set requirements based only on their own mortgages managed by the servicers.

The servicers will also need other liquidity requirements and a tangible net worth—excluding goodwill and other intangible assets—that is equal to at least 6% of the servicer’s total assets, a standard Fannie Mae already had in place.

Read on.

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