Nov 302017

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

Your mortgage credit score is based on a credit model developed almost 20 years ago, and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Watt says that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Many in the credit industry acknowledge that the FICO 4 model, the use of which is required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is deficient. It doesn’t differentiate between paid and unpaid collections. Nor is it able to distinguish medical collections, which seem to have little predictive value of credit risk. It also poorly models student loan debt, which has ballooned in the last 10 years, and only incorporates negative information for rent and utility payments.

Congress is trying to force a change through The Credit Score Competition Act, which would encourage Fannie and Freddie to consider other credit scoring models, including the newer FICO 9 and VantageScore models.

Watt contends that Fannie and Freddie already consider the same or greater levels of credit data in their computer models that determine whether a borrower qualifies. He also notes the change would be quite expensive. He prefers to wait until after Fannie and Freddie merge their investment security platforms, slated for 2019.

However, Watt fails to mention that Fannie and Freddie impose a minimum credit score, which prevents folks from qualifying regardless of how Fannie and Freddie tune their computer models. Fannie and Freddie also use credit score for determining interest rates and mortgage insurance coverage.

Feds extend special refinancing program

 Loan Programs, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on Feds extend special refinancing program
Sep 202017

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it’s extending the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, through next year. The program was set to expire at the end of Sep. FHFA estimates more than 143k homeowners still could benefit from the program.

HARP was created to allow homeowners to refinance to lower interest rates regardless of their financial situation as long as they were current on their mortgage payments. Of the myriad rescue programs adopted by the Feds during the depths of the financial crisis, it was one of the safest because a homeowner willing to make a mortgage payment at a higher interest rate is quite likely to continue doing so at a lower rate.

Remember that HARP only applies to mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and closed before June 2009. You can determine whether Fannie or Freddie owns your mortgage by visiting their Web sites, links to which are the end of my blog.

Fannie Mae: Click here
Freddie Mac: Click here

HARP refinance program extended again

 Loan Programs, Residential Mortgage  Comments Off on HARP refinance program extended again
May 192015

For more information, please contact me at (512) 261-1542 or

By G. Steven Bray

The Home Affordable Refinance Program or HARP has been a boon for homeowners wanting to refinance. The program targets underwater mortgages, but its reduced documentation requirements and favorable interest rates make it attractive to all homeowners.

The Federal Housing Finance Admin reports the program has helped 3.3 million homeowners refinance their mortgages since its inception in 2009, and it was scheduled to end at the end of this year. However, Mel Watt, Director of the FHFA recently announced a one year extension through 2016. Watt claims an additional 600,000 homeowners still could benefit from a HARP refinance.

Keep in mind the two most important restrictions of the program. To be eligible:

– Your mortgage must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. (Fannie and Freddie have a tool on their Web sites to help you determine that or give me a call for help.)

– And, your mortgage must have closed prior to June 1st, 2009.

If you still haven’t been able to refinance, you may want to give this program one more look. The expanded eligibility requirements might allow you to qualify even if you’ve run off the road a couple times in your financial past.